New Colorful Whimsical Acrylic Paintings

Whale, Raven, Sugar Skull Paintings

I’m in Mexico.

I can see I’m being affected by it’s beauty, color and magic.

I’ve always loved the sugar skulls in Mexico. I’ve done one other one a few years ago which you can purchase as a print. I felt the calling to create another.

Full Bloom Sugar Skull, 8″ x 10″, Acrylic on Wood Panel, (sold)

I’m fascinated by the raven and I’ve made quite a few paintings with him in it. This time I’ve added him to a painting with a dream catcher.

A good explanation of the dream catcher can be found at They say, “The shape of the dreamcatcher is a circle because it represents the circle of life and how forces like the sun and moon travel each day and night across the sky. The dream catcher web catches the bad dreams during the night and dispose of them when the day comes.” I like that.

I own a dream catcher that I have in my home in Washington. It has beautiful feathers hanging from it and is made from twigs and leather string.

Catching Celestial Dreams, 8″ x 10″, Acrylic on Wood Panel, (sold)

In Todos Santos, we can see the whales spouting and jumping out in the ocean. I love watching for them. Greg said one time he heard the whales singing when he was swimming at Las Palmas beach. That is cool!


Swim Deeper, Follow the Whales, Acrylic on Wood Panel, $375

If you would like to purchase one, send me an email.

Which one is your favorite?

How to apply for temporary residency in Mexico 2017

baja map

baja sunset

If you’re like many people you go online to find information on how to do things. However, we found a lot of outdated information on how to apply for temporary residency in Mexico so I thought I would share our process of getting a Temporary Residency Card.

This is for those Americans who intend to live in Mexico (for non-lucrative purposes) and obtain a temporary residency card for the first time.

This is what we did:

First I emailed the Mexican Consulate in Seattle to see if there was anything we needed that wasn’t listed on their website. I finally got a response back. This is what they said.

It’s not necessary to Schedule an appointment, you can walk in from 8:30am to 11:00am from Monday to Friday in order to start the process of the Visa. These are the documents you need:

·         Valid Passport and 1 photocopy

·         Visa application form (you can download it from their website)

·         1 photo passport size

·         Proof of income from social security income (Last 6 months) if you’re retired (This didn’t apply to us since we are not retired)

·         Bank statements from checking or saving accounts (last 12 months)

·         Documentation of legal stay in the USA (if needed) (This was not needed by us)

·         Original Marriage Certificate and 1 photocopy

So, I collected all the documents as well as a small size and regular size passport photo as I couldn’t find what size we needed. Turns out they wanted the small size (3.2 cm x 2.6 cm). I made 3 copies of each thing just in case they needed more than what was mentioned.

Turns out they didn’t need more copies than what was mentioned but you never know.

So we went to the Mexican Consulate (go early as they close at 1pm and it can take several hours) and told the person at the desk what we wanted and showed her all our paperwork. She asked us a few questions about what we wanted to accomplish. She then took our passport photos, attaching them to our application, and other documents and asked us to wait.

Finally after almost 2 hours of waiting we were called and told that we would have our photo and fingerprints taken which they did. She took our passports and we were told to wait again.

Finally we got our passports back which had our  temporary visa photo they took of us in it. It was stamped and put inside our passport. We were told we would have 30 days to apply at the Immigration office in Mexico for a Temporary Resident Card similar to the characteristics as the Visa given at the Consulate.

The woman at the Mexican Consulate said to bring all the same paperwork with us to the Immigration office when we went as you never know what they might need. The Mexican Consulate kept our bank statements so I printed out more copies to bring with us.

When we crossed over the Mexican border, we went to the immigration office (as we usually do at the border) and they took our passports and filled out immigration forms which we signed. They told us we would have 30 days to apply for our Temporary Resident Visas at the Immigration office in La Paz (closest one to Todos Santos where we were going).

A couple days later, we went to the Immigration office in La Paz. It was not crowded and we were able to talk with the person at the desk. He explained we needed to fill out a form online at and gave us all the steps to fill it out. He said we needed 3 copies and to also get 3 small passport photos (chico) which we could get down the street at a specialized photography studio. Also he gave us a form to bring to the bank to pay a fee and get a receipt. It came to 3715 pesos each.

We went to Office Depot to get on the computer and fill out the form and print it out.

To fill out the application, follow the steps below. Go to:

• Condiciones y estancia en Mexico

• Expedición de documento migratorio por canje

• Formato para solicitar trámite migratorio de estancia, llenado de manera electrónica a través de la página de internet con firma autógrafa del promovente

On this page called Tipo de Tramite

Que desea hacer?*:
• Canjear o reponer documento migratorio

• Canje de FMM por Tarjeta de Visitante o de Residente

• Estados Unidos de America

Nacionalidad actual*:
• Estadounidense (this means American in Spanish)

I didn’t put in all the answers as you will have to fill that out yourself but it’s things like your name, sex, date from your passport, passport expiration date, what state you live in, etc. It helps to know spanish or use the Google Translate to help fill it out.

Then we went and got the passport photos and to the bank to pay the fee.

The front photo must be the chico size and in color with a white background. No wearing glasses or earrings in the photo and hair must be pulled back, behind the ears. No smiling allowed. Also a side view is taken. Polaroid or cellular phone pictures will not be accepted. We got our photos taken at the place the immigration officer recommended. I forget how much they cost but not that much.

We went back to the Immigration office to give them the receipt, the application forms and photos. We signed some papers and were told to wait for an email. I also will note they didn’t need 3 copies of anything, just the one but you never know.

Within a day or so an email arrived from that had a number (el número de pieza) and a password (contraseña) which was used when we got another email a day or so later that had a link. After I logged in there was a notice that said we were to go the immigration office again and bring with us a sketch and/or map location (photographs) of our Mexican address and it must contain street name, number, adjoining streets that are of our location. And current proof of address such as CFE (electric) or Telmex (telephone) bill. So I made a map of where we live using Google maps.

We went to the immigration office bringing our Map and CFE bill. These were taken from us (can’t remember if we signed more papers) and we were told we’d get another email and we’d have to come back to have our finger prints taken.

Sure enough, in a few days another email arrived. We went into the Immigration office and they took our finger prints, we signed some papers and they gave us a paper with our special number (Clave) on it which is used for other things such as getting a drivers license, etc. They said to come back in 7 to 10 days to get our Temporary Resident Cards.

Wow, who knew it would take this long! If you’re going through the same thing, this might be helpful to know what to expect. Although I understand different Consulates and Immigration Offices could have a different process. Best of luck!

Visit to the waterfall at Santiago, Baja, Mexico

Santiago baja waterall

On our road trip over to the East Cape in Baja, we also went to visit the waterfall at Santiago.

Bajainsider says, “Santiago is a small pueblo located 46 km north of the, Los Cabos Airport (SJD), San Jose Del Cabo, Baja Sur. At about 42km you make a left turn off Highway 1 to Santiago…”

Follow the signs (or ask someone like we did) to a rancho officially called the Rancho Ecológico Sol de Mayo. There will be a gate you will pass through and arrive at a parking area where you will find someone to direct you. You can pay a small fee to go the waterfall. We stayed in one of their cabinas so it came with the room.


The walk there wasn’t too bad. A little steep in some spots but there were stairs built into the rock. Bring your own water, snacks and towel. There is a rustico bathroom right at the start of the trail.

Walk to Santiago Waterfall

Santiago Waterfall in Baja

It’s beautiful as you can see. There are lots of watering holes to take a dip in.

Waterfall pools at Santiago Waterfall

Water at Santiago Waterfall

One can climb above the falls and find even more pools to swim in.

Swimming hole at Santiago Waterfall


Santiago Waterfall Pool

And the rocks have some pretty cool and beautiful patterns on them.

Santiago Waterfall rocks

SAntiago Waterfall rocks and plants

Santiago Waterfall Rock Formation

This one (below) looked like an eyeball.Waterfall at Santiago Rocks

I liked this heart rock formation.

heat rock at Santiago Waterfall

We stayed in one of their cabins that was about $30 or so a night.

Cabin at Santiago Waterfall

It was very comfortable!

inside cabin at Santiago Waterfall

Table outside Santiago Waterfall cabin

Inside the cabin was a bed and bathroom and across from that outside was a kitchen building with an upstairs area we could sit and watch the stars. Each cabin had their own kitchen. We did have their breakfast (you have to pay for) in the morning at the main building where you enter the area.Santiago Waterfall cabinas

Upstairs on top of kitchen at Santiago Waterfall

upstairs at Santiago Waterfall cabin

This sun and moon kiss sculpture is inspiring one of my paintings. Stay tuned for more about that.

art in Santiago Waterfall cabin

We cooked dinner by candlelight as there was no electricity. They supplied us with a bunch of candles so it was fun.Cooking by candlelight at Santiago cabin

It was a beautiful sunset.

Sunset at Santiago Waterfall

I highly recommend this adventure!

Snorkel Beach at Punta Pescadero on East Cape, Baja, Mexico

snorkel beach east cape baja

We headed over to the East Cape of Baja, Mexico to explore the area around Los Barriles. We wanted to look for great camp spots on the beach. We love camping and swimming in the beautiful water on the east side of Baja. This trip we were lucky to discover Snorkel Beach.

We stopped in Los Barriles to get groceries and supplies and asked a couple people about where to camp. We were told about a place called Snorkel Beach that was north of Los Barriles near the Hotel Punta Pescadero Paradise. It sounded great so we headed out to find it.

We followed the road (Los Barilles-Santa Teresa) north out of Los Barilles along the coast and took a turn off toward the beach at El Pescadero. We traveled along a dirt road (recommend 4 wheel drive) until we came to a beach that we decided must be Snorkel Beach as it was just south of the hotel called Hotel Punta Pescadero Paradise.

We learned about this great Baja California Almanac Map below from a couple we met at Snorkel beach. They let us take a pic of it so we wouldn’t forget the name of it.

We highly recommend getting it. It is a very detailed almanac that shows roads that are off the beaten track that don’t show up on your regular map. It’s on our “to buy” list.

Camping baja

This is Snorkel Beach.

There weren’t many people there. We camped for two nights. There were a few people who arrived during the day but only one other car was camping like we were. Everyone who arrived during the day left by the evening.

Camping baja

You can see Hotel Punta Pescadero Paradise up on the cliff north of where we camped.

Camping baja

Here’s our camp spot. We got the tarp out to create a little shade.

Camping punta pescadero

Greg rigged it up so we could get out of the sun.

camping punta pescadero

He also fixed us some killer margaritas.

camping baja

After swimming and snorkeling (the best area was around the rocks just below the hotel), naps were in order.

camping baja doggie

On the second night, after a bit of relaxation, we left the dogs to watch over the camp and we headed up the road toward the Hotel.

camping baja

It was a beautiful evening.


It was a nice walk!

Hotel Punta Pescadero Paradise

Once at Hotel Punta Pescadero Paradise, we found our way out to the patio and ordered an excellent pizza and margaritas for dinner. Yum! Looked like it would be a great hotel to spend the night at too. But we liked our camp spot so although we considered it, we didn’t stay at the hotel.

hotel punta pescadero paradise

Glad I remembered the bug spray but we really didn’t need it. There was a light breeze that kept the mosquitoes away.

Hotel Punta Pescadero Paradise

The twinkly lights were muy romantico.

Hotel Punta Pescadero Paradise

And the sunset was just gorgeous! It got better as the evening light faded. After dinner we walked back to our camp via the beach. It was a great end to a wonderful camping trip at Snorkel beach.

Hotel Punta Pescadero Paradise

We left the next day and explored more of the area south of Los Barriles around La Ribera and then headed up to Santiago to find the waterfall. More on that in my next post.

One other tip….you don’t have to go back on the same road that you came in on. Go north on the dirt road past the Hotel Punta Pescadero Paradise to

Happy travels.

Number 8 blog post in Zen and the Art of Doing What You Love

This is post 8 in my 10 post blog series on Beth Kempton’s PDF titled “Zen and the Art of Doing what you Love.”  The Steps and journal prompts are taken from Beth’s PDF.


Journal prompt: What could be possible if you just tuned out the negativity and followed your heart?

This is an appropriate journal prompt because although Beth is talking about emotions and getting rid of negativity, the shoulds and should nots and following one’s heart, I am thinking of it in a literal sense.

We are in Mexico right now for another week and boy did we ever travel light! We packed one suitcase with both Greg and I’s stuff in it and paired it down to the bare minimum.


Baja Art Studio

How many times have you traveled somewhere to find upon coming home that you didn’t wear or use many of the things you had brought along? This time we didn’t want that to happen.

We came by airplane so we wanted to travel the lightest we possibly could. It meant taking a minimum of art supplies as well.

So I packed two paint colors, white and phalo blue and brought along a gessoed wood panel and some brushes and that is it for supplies! I decided to try painting a mono colored painting in blue shades. I’ll show you some photos soon.

How do you feel about traveling light?

We Love Baja Sunsets

Taken near San Carlos, Mexico

Our last trip to Baja was in July. We had an awesome time. Here is another post about our trip.

When we’re in Baja, just about  every evening we either go to the beach or go up to the upstairs patio to enjoy the sunset. We always are in awe of the beauty!

If we’re lucky, we can see the spot of green glow that the sun makes right before it goes down over the horizon. We pause and wonder if it will happen this time.

baja sunset


The horizon often has a mist over the ocean so you don’t see a crisp clean line with the sun setting over it.  But the photo above was one of the rare sunsets without the mist.

For about 3 nights in a row there was a very crisp horizon. But only one of those sunsets gave us the green glow. So it is rare!


The dogs love going to the beach with us! We pack up our backpack with the beach blanket and appetizer goodies – avocado for guacamole which I make right in the shell, salsa and chips and sometimes either margaritas or coconut rum pineapple banana pinacoladas which are awesome.


I throw the avocado pit for Belle and a game of chase begins between Cody and Belle. Running and circling close to the waves, they love this game. It’s always Cody chasing Belle with the avocado pit in her mouth. Luckily she never chokes on it!

Soon the sun has set and we return to our casita for a dinner of fish tacos or shrimp spaghetti. We eat a simple diet in Baja but a delicious one!


We took the Topolobampo Ferry to La Paz

This is the last post about our road trip down to Todos Santos in Baja Mexico from Prescott, AZ.

We headed out of San Carlos to the Topolobampo ferry and got there 3 hours ahead of time, as the website suggested. If we knew the ferry was going to leave at 8 pm instead of 5 pm, we might not have rushed to get there!

We got our ferry ticket and walked the dogs and gave them water before we got on the ferry. We waited till most of the cars had loaded so we could be on a top deck so our dogs would have fresh air with the windows rolled down. It was pretty hot out.

We gave Cody and Belle a sedative so they could sleep most of the trip. Turned out that was a very good thing and I’m really glad we did because their stay in the car turned out to be longer than we thought. They were comfortable sleeping and had bowls of water next to them.

If we knew the ferry ride experience was going to take 15 hours instead of 6, we might not have gone that way is what Greg said. I didn’t have too many expectations, so I would do it again.

After we got onboard we explored the ferry which was really nice. It was made in Italy. Went outside on the decks and looked at the view. Talked to a few people. Met a nice musician. Then we headed to a bar area and had an ice cold beer with lime. Refreshing!

We wandered around. I read a magazine. Greg explored. Finally 3 hours later, the ferry took off!

Our ticket came with a free meal so we ate dinner and then went to the cinema area to watch a movie. Most people there were sleeping in big recliner chairs. Soon I was sleeping too which made the 6 hour ride go fairly fast.

I only wished I had a blanket or my jacket to make a pillow which would have made thngs more comfortable. Greg would have liked to have had earplugs as between the movie noise, the guy snoring next to him and the man behind us on his cell phone, he didn’t get much sleep. I on the other hand was oblivious and got good shut eye.

Finally at 2 a.m. we pulled into La Paz. We had drank a coffee to stay awake before the ship started on loading.

One of the things they do is separate the drivers from the passengers when they unload the boat. So that was a little disconcerting because we didn’t know where or when we would meet up. Having only one cell phone between us didn’t help matters otherwise we could have stayed in touch. So I kissed Greg goodnye and trusted we would meet up soon.

I went to the passenger area and waited. People started moving so I got in line and followed. We went through an inspection area like at the airport with a metal detector and a machine that scanned luggage. Soon I was outside wondering where to meet Greg.

I could see that the cars that were unloading were all going past this one area so I stood there hoping to catch Greg and let him know where I was.  I could see that they weren’t letting passengers get into the unloaded cars as they moved past. One had to go to a different area that was beyond where I was to do that.

Soon there he was! Yeah! I waved and he saw me. I yelled, I’ll meet you out front and pointed to him where I would be. He nodded. I thought he would just drive around to that area and I would meet him there and that would be that. It was 2:30 a.m.

At 6am, he finally pulls up to where I was.

For 3.5 hours, he had to stay in line as they slowly inched along and did inspections. I on the other hand was waiting out front wondering where he was. I finally asked a worker if this was normal. Yes, he said. I heard someone say it could take over 3 hours!

All the cars and trucks and buse on the ferry would go by where I was, so I knew Greg would eventually find me. So I sat down and waited, wishing I had a jacket as I was freezing in my shorts and t-shirt.

In the end it all worked out but Greg was not happy when he finally pulled up. He told me his story about what happened. The long wait. The inspections. The not knowing where I was. The dogs were fine which was a great relief. I told him my story. The waiting, the not knowing where he was and if he would find me. But we were fine and glad to be together again!

We decided to head to Todos Santos and stop somewhere for breakfast.

Originally we thought we would get in at 2 am and go camp at the beach till morning. But that didn’t happen. We found a great little restaurant and had a bite.

We finally made it to Todos Santos and to the casita. After unpacking a few things and getting the dogs settled, we layed down for a nap which felt oh, so good after the long, challenging ferry adventure! Sometimes a good nap makes everything okay. 🙂

Do you have any memories of a challenging time during travelling? Sometimes these make the best stories.



More Baja Trip Notes

Here’s a little video of me in the studio and then the continuing story of our trip to Todos Santos, Baja, Mexico.


After we got our auto import permit for our truck outside of Nogales we were on our way to San Carlos where we were going to spend the night.

It’s a pretty uneventful drive. Straight roads almost the whole way so that it feels like you’re just driving and driving and driving and the landscape is pretty much the same for miles on end. Desert and small little towns. There are some nice mountains though to look at.

San Carlos is a really cute town. A seaside resort is what they call it online. I sure wish I had the photos off our camera to share because then you could see how nice it is. You can tell it is a tourist town during the high season but for us there were not a lot of people around so it looked very quaint.

In San Carlos we stopped at the grocery store and picked up some food and supplies. We talked to a nice man who told us about a good place to camp. I’m always a little wary about beach camping. I fight my fears and so far we’ve always had a great time camping.

We headed to the beach and found a nice protected area with trees and dunes. Looked like a good camp spot so we parked.

Our two border collies, Belle and Cody, played in the surf while we unpacked. Then I walked the beach and collected a handful of pretty shells and rocks. Greg made margaritas.

After dinner we watched the sunset and then pitched the tent. We looked at the stars and then called it a night.

The next morning we had our usual cereal and yogurt. Greg made coffee.I packed up the tent and rolled up the air mattress and we were on the road again – headed to the Topolobampo ferry to La Paz  which is near Los Mochis.

More on that part of our trip Friday.

We visited Bahia San Basilia, Baja California, Mexico

We made it to Todos Santos, Baja California, Mexico. Our trip odometer just turned over to 3,000 when we pulled into town. Wow, a 3,000 mile road trip. We thought that was pretty cool.


I’ve made previous blog posts about traveling down Baja before so this time I will just blog about a few highlights from our road trip.

We wanted to explore a new beach on this trip so we chose Bahia San Basilia which is located on the middle, eastern side of baja, north of Loreto which is a town we like to stop at. Greg did some research online but could find very little about this bay. It looked like most people go there by sail boat.


We wanted to drive so Greg looked on Google earth and found there was a small dirt road out to this beautiful beach on a small bay. He could tell from the Google street view that the road started at mile post 50 on Highway 1. Turned out it was mile post 49 when we got there but sure enough, there it was. So we headed out on what appeared to be a very good graded dirt road. It looked like it would be about 10 to 12 miles.


We found there were white ribbons tied to shrubs that seemed to be showing us the way. We kept on and veered right each time there might be a choice of a way to go. There were very few other roads leading into the main road  so we didn’t feel like we could get lost. That gave me much relief.

Road to San Basilio

A few miles down the road we passed a small ranch and there were some great looking cattle on the road. Made we want to paint a picture of this one.


We passed this beautiful tree with white bark. It had the most amazing root system.


If you know me, you know I love trees so I was fascinated with this one.


There were only two spots that we wished we had a 4 wheel drive. One was a stretch of soft sand but we made it through just fine. The other was a steep rocky grade but that turned out fine too.


Finally we came to a private property sign. On first glance it looked like we shouldn’t continue which would be disappointing because we had already traveled 10 miles! But on reading further it was a sign that said to respect the land — do not speed, do not litter, no hunting, no fires, etc. So we ventured on!

RespecttheLandSignFinally we came to a parking area.


And the bay was gorgeous.
Bahia San Basilio
We set up camp on the beach.
We were the only ones camped there.
It was beautiful for swimming and kayaking in the afternoon. There were a few boats out in the bay. One couple used their skiff from their sailboat to get to the beach and came over and visited with us which was nice. It turned out they were from Albany, Oregon.
We met quite a few people from Oregon on our road trip. I believe Oregonians are quite adventurous.
The morning was calm and peaceful. We really enjoyed ourselves and soaked up our surroundings.
San Basilio-2
Soon we were packing up and continuing on our road trip to Todos Santos.
If you’re up for an adventure, I highly recommend traveling the dirt road to Bahia San Basilia.
p.s. My art e-Newsletter for May will be mailed in a few days. Sign up for it now and you’ll be sure to receive it.

Prayer Flags in my Art


“Prayer flags are colorful panels or rectangular cloths often found strung along mountain ridges and peaks in the Himalayas to bless the surrounding countryside. Unknown in other branches of Buddhism, prayer flags are believed to have originated with Bon, which predated Buddhism in Tibet. Traditionally they are woodblock-printed with texts and images.” -Wikipedia

Our neighbors down in Baja had prayer flags attached to the railings on the top level of their home. It’s a tall brown house. The flags were very colorful and hung right off their upper patio. They would flutter in the wind and when I would paint in my studio, I could see them.

They were a happy reminder of peace and good will. I liked seeing them there.

But after a few weeks, they took them down. Don’t know why. I have to say I missed them. So I painted my own. They made their way into a small 16″ x 20″ painting.

My Prayer Flags hang in a whimsical, magical woodland. They flutter in the wind, blessing everything around them. I’ve read that the Buddhists believe that every time the flags flutter in the wind, a prayer is released up to the heavens above. I like that.

Each color of the flags symbolize natural elements of nature – earth (yellow), water (green), fire (red), air (white) and space (blue).

On they say, “The ancient Buddhist prayers, mantras and powerful symbols displayed on them produce a spiritual vibration that is activated and carried by the wind across the countryside. All beings that are touched by the wind are uplifted and a little happier. The silent prayers are blessings spoken on the breath of nature. Just as a drop of water can permeate the ocean, prayers dissolved in the wind extend to fill all of space…”

You can read more about prayer flags at


“Prayers Spoken on the Breath of the Wind”
Acrylic on Canvas
16″ x 20″
by L. Gruger

We Camped at Playa Escondida on the Sea of Cortez

We’re back in Bend, Oregon. We left Todos Santos on the 25th. We stopped on the Sea of Cortez at Playa Escondida for a couple days of R & R. We love camping on the beach!

We snorkeled and swam and caught the rays! It was hot! About 105, maybe more.

We built a great little camp with a palapa hut.


The views were beautiful!


The water was my favorite color! I call it mediterranean green. But maybe I should be calling it Sea of Cortez green.


I liked this painting overlooking the beach.


It was way up there. I like surprises like that…when you’re looking around and then you notice something way up in the rocks and you have to squint to see it or get your zoom camera like I did.


Our friend Heidi traveled up Baja with us. This is Greg and Heidi enjoying dinner by the sea. I had to stop and go get the camera and I snapped their pic.


There was a full moon that came up over the mountains. It was so orange and gorgeous! Hard to capture by photo just how spectacular it was!


Greg fixed us killer margaritas. He’s mastered the recipe!


He also mastered the art of relaxation!


Heidi and I were pretty happy relaxing too!


And Greg and I were especially happy because one morning on a walk along the beach, Greg proposed and I said yes! Here we are celebrating with big, happy smiles!


Now we’re back home but we sure have good memories from our camping and road trip!

I hope your days are bright and blessed!!

Got any fun plans for the summer?

Furball and Art Auction Painting

My artist friend Beth Parker made the sweetest painting titled Barbados Beach Shack. I love that painting and I have a card of it in my art studio. It inspired me to create my own little beach shack. Mine is titled “Little Blue Beach Shack” and it is a donation painting I’ve created for the Todos Santos Furball and Art Auction that will be held in February 2011.

Little Blue Beach Shack by L. Gruger

The Furball is a fundraiser that has been held over the years and is organized by our friend Angelique in Todos Santos.

A quote from the Baja Western Onion says, “These funds are used for the on-going effort to spay and neuter the dogs and cats of Todos Santos and Pescadero. Local vets perform these operations weekly, both in Todos Santos and at El Refugio in Pescadero. In addition, there is an annual clinic when U.S. vets come to our community and perform surgeries on two hundred or more dogs and cats.”

Angelique’s passion is the animals and especially the kitties!


Angelique runs “Kitty Heaven” which is a refuge for homeless cats in the Todos Santos and surrounding area.


The cats run freely in a sheltered area that she had built. They are well cared for, spayed or neutered and their shots updated. All are up for adoption.


But Angelique needs help with maintaining Kitty Heaven. She can’t do it alone.


There are about 25-30 cats at any one time at Kitty Heaven being cared for.


Angelique knows them all by name. She knows each of their stories. Where they came from and for how long they’ve been at Kitty Heaven.



kitty6If you can make a donation to help Angelique with Kitty Heaven, it would be greatly appreciated! See the link below. Thanks!


Spent the day in Todos Santos

We played tourist today. You can see my friend from Seattle below with Greg. She flew in on Sunday and we picked her up in Cabo. Today we wandered around Todos Santos showing her the sights.


First, we stopped at the Cultural Center and looked at art and learned some history of the area. I like this Frida Kahlo painting below.


There are lots of little galleries and shops to explore. This carved door below is at artist Charles Stewart’s house and gallery. His website says “Charles was the first and founding artist of this rapidly growing colony of very talented, professional artists. He was the only working artist who had a gallery in Todos Santos up until 1995.” Now there are lots of artists in Todos Santos.


One of my fav artists is Jill Logan. So we went down to her gallery and checked out the latest paintings.

Then there was one little shop that gave us tequila shots and Greg tried on this poncho and mask which made us laugh. We had fun!


I love this purple building with the red bougainvillea in front of it.


You can look around and see art everywhere. In the color of the buildings, in flowers, in the architecture. I love the way certain buildings have sweet details, for example, this saint below.


We wandered around looking at stuff. We bought a couple things. Stopped for a taco and then ice cream at Happy Cream.

Soon the sun was beginning to set.



We stopped at the Todos Santos Inn for a cerveza before we headed home. They have beautiful garden areas there and it was peaceful and relaxing after walking around all day.


Then we headed back to the casita. Tomorrow we’re headed to the beach to show Heidi some sun and surf. On Friday we start our drive back to Oregon.

Going Bananas in Baja

Last year we transplanted some banana trees in a new garden in front of our casita. It was one of the last things we did before we headed back to Oregon last year.


Before we arrived this year we wondered how much the garden had grown.


Everything really took off and especially the banana trees!

I didn’t know much about how bananas grow before we had banana trees. So I thought you might like to know more about them too.

First there’s a pod that develops. I swear this one was not there yesterday and now today it is. The pod grows very fast!


Then comes some long flowery bud-like things off the top of the pod.


They attract lots of bees.


Then they start forming bananas.



It makes a long stem with the pod at the end. I’m not sure how it gets this long. It sheds petals and grows new flower buds similar to the first photos.


The bananas are small but there’s lots of them!


We chop the bunch while they’re still green and hang it off the patio to ripen. Within a week, we have lots of little yellow bananas that taste wonderful!


It’s pretty cool.

Oh, and this planter box I painted last year is a recycled washing machine drum. In another blog post I’m going to show you more planter boxes I painted.

A couple weeks ago we met a man who did some welding for us and he had a few spare washing machine drums at his shop. I asked him and he gave me two. One I painted with bright flowers and one with cactus. Stay tuned for pics.

Enjoy your weekend!

Painting in the studio and other projects

Where does the time go? I meant to make more posts this week but have been busy with painting in the studio and working on our casita.

We have a big project happening in our kitchen. We hired some help to create our new palido counter tops. It’s quite a project and takes a few days to complete. So things are a bit chaotic at our place.


They’re doing a great job. I love the color of them. A yellowish gold with tiny flexs of red in it.


We’ll add some tile touches to the front vertical area below the sink. It will be fun to go look for tile. Greg is going to build some cupboard doors which will be great instead of the curtains we’ve had hanging to hide the area below the sink.

They’re still working on the counters today. It will be 3 weeks before we can put the sealer on them though and get to really start using them. That means they’ll be ready right before we have to leave.

We have some other projects in the works too but I’ll show you those at a later date.

So last time I wrote, I was pianting in the studio.

painting in baja studio
painting in baja studio

I’ve been working on my six newest birch tree paintings. I added fish to the blue pond in one of my paintings.


I added some baby birds and a star to these two pieces.


And the sixth painting I haven’t shown you yet.

It’s gone through some major revisions.

It’s the one painting of the six that is vertical and has only one tree.

I at first had a different larger figure under the birch but I painted over it. I added a black haired maiden instead. I’m beginning to like it now and I’m thinking it will make a nice greeting card. Which painting is your favorite of these six?


It’s hard from the photos to see the changes I’ve made but they are there. Still more touches are needed before they’re complete. Some of the next things to add are the background swirls and white dot details.

I always feel it is these last touches that really complete the piece. Sometimes I hesitate to show my work before it is done because people will assume it is done but I know it is not.

These pieces I’m showing you right now are about 3/4’s complete. So stay tuned.


I’ve mentioned before that baja sunsets are gorgeous and we enjoy them almost every night. One night I noticed how beautiful the archway of flowers to our casita looked in the setting sun and captured a pic of it. I love silhouettes with the sun setting in the background.


Another night, although the sky was not very colorful, the sun looked HUGE as it was setting! I took a photo but had to use the telephoto to have it look like the sun really was big. Some times the sun sets and then the clouds turn a beautiful pink color in the after glow. That’s always pretty.


Got to get back to the studio now.

Enjoy your day!

Creating colorful, whimsical paintings in the studio


I unplugged last Friday and tried not to use my computer except for email so I could spend all my time in the art studio working on six new paintings on board. I have some minis and medium sized paintings in the works as well but I put those on hold to concentrate on the six.

I’ve accomplished a lot! I’ll share a bit of what I’ve done and then I’m back to the studio to keep working on them.

The first layer on my paintings is about getting some color down.

And working with creating texture. I use a ribbed t-shirt pressed into the paint to get some of the lines and layering of color. (See my art video on my youtube channel where I talk about creating texture.)


I knew I wanted to paint more birch tree paintings.

My imagination envisioned trees leaning into each other. Trees living near water or with animals. So I started seeing in my mind the trees in their surroundings and started laying down their white base.


I  really love painting these whimsical worlds because I can add anything I want to them such as organic forms…

detailsand horses and moons…


and water,

trees2hearts and homes


and birds.

birdAnd color. I love adding color! I can’t wait to get back to working on them!

They’re in that in between stage right now and I know after today they will look more the way I want them to. So check back tomorrow and I’ll share more of their progression. I’ll show you what is living in that pond of blue water and what else lives with this bird.

Until then, enjoy the colors of your life!

Baja sunsets and night sky

We were walking home from our neighbor’s place
on Saturday night and we saw this:


Venus above the moon.

Sure was gorgeous!

Made me think of all the wonderful sunsets and night skies
we’ve seen over the years.

I save my sunset photos and looking at them brings back memories of
camping on the beach or sitting with friends, eating chips and salsa
and watching as that beautiful golden orb sets for another day.






Life and Art in the Sun

Granted, it is has been gorgeous sunny weather since we’ve been in Baja. Just beautiful! But not every weekend is about the sun for us. One of the things we do while we’re down here in Baja is work on our little casita. We did a lot last year for sure but there is lots more we’d like to do.

This past weekend I tore out the tile on the kitchen counter tops that we’re going to replace with either smooth dyed concrete called pulido or some kind of smooth tile.

counter1I had installed these grooved tiles on the counter in 2003. Little did I know I would be tearing them out 7 years later. Back then it was my very first tile job. We used tiles we had on hand and it turns out they were the worst! So hard to clean with all the grooves in them. They drive me crazy! Anyway, it was a tough job chipping them out but I did it. I finished one side of the counter.


I’ll save the other side to do for another weekend. I’ll show you the end result with the new counters in a later blog post.

We’re loving having bananas to eat. We’re trying to space it out so they don’t all ripen at once. We have about 6 bunches in the trees. So far we’ve taken one bunch off the trees and hung them under the porch to ripen.


They are so tasty! Small but sweet.


We have lots more after these are eaten. We have a little corn growing too but I don’t know if we’ll be here long enough to eat it. We do have a basil plant that has grown huge and we’ve been snipping at it and adding it to fish and pasta dishes and to tuna sandwiches. I love growing our own food!


We also have the most unusual flies here. I call them fly-bees. The color is amazing on them! Iridescent turquoise! I love this shot with purpley lavender and green with the turquoise.


I have been painting lots too! I’m still doing birch trees and enjoying painting them so much! I was thinking about what it would be like to have something hanging in the trees so one of the trees is wearing a jeweled necklace.


Our neighbors across the way had some prayer flags hanging off their deck so I’m putting some prayer flags in one of the tree paintings too. Not sure if I like that one but I’ll keep working on it and see what happens. I took the below photo early this morning when there were still long shadows. I love that time of day in the early morning and just before the sun sets when long shadows come out.


And this is our dog Cody. His favorite thing to do is lay under the stairs in his “dog cave” and stay cool. This is him sitting just outside his cave. He came out to say hi. We think he’s awfully cute with one ear up and one ear down.


Today I’m working on my paintings so I’ll see you later.

hummingbird~~~ Enjoy your day! ~~~

Traveling to Todos Santos


Last  Friday we camped at Playa Santispac on Bahía Concepción on the Sea of Cortez. We headed toward Todos Santos on Saturday morning. On this leg of our trip we traveled very long, straight stretches of roadway through a whole lot of nothing but desert for hours on end.


Although we did get to see some goats when we stopped for road construction work on the highway. You can barely make out the goat amongst the bushes below.


We pulled over and ate a picnic lunch before we got to Ciudad Insurgentes near the Pacific coast.


Finally we went through La Paz and it felt like we were almost there! The last 50 min. or so of roadway is a 4 lane highway, two lanes in either direction, that was built last year. It made for a quick ride into Todos Santos.

Below is a photo of the gate Greg built last year for our place. The bouginvilla has really grown!

roadtrip2-12And so have the banana trees!


Over the weekend, I unpacked my art supplies and got my art table set up.


My trusty studio companion, Belle, lounged around after the long ride, soaking up the atmosphere. Good dog.


In my next blog post I’ll show you some photos of how much the plants have grown in our yard and what I’m painting in the studio this week. Bye for now.

On the road to Bahía Concepción

Last Friday we headed out toward Bahía Concepción on the Sea of Cortez from Bahía de Los Angeles. This is an area that we really love. We spent 3 days there last year on our return trip up Baja and this time wanted to explore a different playa (beach) in that same area.


First we stopped in Guerro Negro and got our tourist visas and passports stamped at the immigration office. We were glad we were there on a Friday since we didn’t know if the office was closed on the weekend. We got lunch and filled the gas tank and continued toward Santa Rosalia on the coast.

To see a video, click the link> baja driving

This part of the drive has some super steep roads as one heads over to the Sea of Cortez. The below photo doesn’t do this area justice. I don’t have a photo of the super steep part because I probably had my eyes closed and was holding my breath as Greg drove fearlessly down the very steep and winding road…on that part it was ever so slowly though.


We drove into a small town called Santa Rosalina to see what it was like. We hadn’t stopped there before.


There were lots of shops with colorful exteriors and signage.


We stopped at a panaderia (bakery) for fresh bread and muffins that were delicious! This one had been there since 1901. We thought the town was quaint and the people friendly.


Then we headed toward playa Santispac where we were going to camp for the night.


It was beautiful there. So calm and peaceful. We ate at a nearby restaurant and then went to our camp spot and set up our stuff. The dogs played in the water.


For $8 per night and hardly anyone around, we felt like we were in paradise.


In the morning we got up and took a swim before we left. It was gorgeous!


And then we hit the road for our final destination, Todos Santos.


Greg in the drivers seat.

I’ll write more about that leg of the journey in tomorrow’s post. Stay tuned.

Our drive to Bahía de Los Angeles


Last Thursday we got up early after spending the night in El Rosario and we headed out toward Bahía de Los Angeles. This is an area we have seen on the map but have never been. We couldn’t find much online about it either. We decided if the weather was nice we would go for it. Otherwise we would stay in Guerro Negro which is where we get our tourist visas.


So we hit the road.


The desert was in bloom.


Yellow and red are popular desert colors.


We stopped a couple times to let the dogs out and give them water.


I took photos of the desert.


I love the area around Catavina. Land of the big boulders!



We stopped at the Desert Inn and asked them if there was gas in Bahia de Los Angeles because if there wasn’t, we were going to have to skip it. Turns out there are 2 gas stations there. So we had enough gas to continue! That made us happy.


The desert has some very odd plants. Spikey, tall ones.


Spiny bushes with yellow fluff hanging like cotton on their branches.


We reached the town about 40 minutes or so after the main turn off.


It was really windy but gorgeous!


The water was beautiful. My favorite color — mediterranean green.

The town is very small. Not a lot going on there. But we heard there was a vintage motor cross race starting there the next day so we heard the town was pretty booked up for that.

We stopped for a yummy lunch of fish tacos at a cute little taco stand. We asked some other customers who were there about camping in the area. They told us about a camping area north of town. I believe it was called Daggett’s. There was camping on the beach with palapa huts for $10 a night. Just what we were looking for.

So we stopped for some food and drink supplies and headed on over there.


We unpacked and set up camp. We let the dogs run in the surf. Boy, were they happy campers after that!


So were we!


In my next blog post, I’ll tell you about our next day with driving to Bahía Concepción and camping on that beautiful bay. I think you’ll like those photos.

‘Til then, ocean breezes to you!

Notes from the road

We began our drive to Baja on Sunday. First stop, Harbin Hot Springs in Northern California. This was a surprise birthday present from Greg to me. What a sweet man he is!

Now I don’t have any photos from this part of our trip because they don’t allow any picture taking at the Hot Springs but I do have links to some photos from the Harbin website. We stayed in one of the Tent Cabins that was really cool. Part of it had a huge window where we had a beautiful view of the forest valley. It was very private and we were able to use the hot soaking pool after we did a nature walk around the grounds. It was a wonderfully calm place to relax and refresh our spirits before continuing our drive.

We stayed the second night at a camp ground near Pyramid Lake outside of Los Angeles. It was an okay spot but it wasn’t the best evening. The hard core rap and rock music our camping neighbors (a young family) turned on that evening kept us awake for a while. They had a gigantic bonfire that they would leave unattended. We had a bird’s eye view and couldn’t help but look their way. Now I could turn this into a rant about parents who play loud music with not a care about their kids being exposed to the vicious words in this type of “music”, that these parents didn’t care enough to turn the “music” down so that their children could sleep quietly after they went to bed or let their neighbors sleep quietly but I’m not going to. GRRRRR!!…you get the idea, so you can see it was not the best night. We should have left and found another place to camp but we didn’t.

In the a.m. we had a couple guys visit our camp site. They had been camping near us as well and they were pretty sketchy characters so after they left, we got packed up fast and got back on the road.

That day, we visited Greg’s Mom outside Banning which was really nice but way too short of a visit. Hopefully on the way back up we’ll stop and see her again. Later that evening we went to our friends house in San Diego. We visited with them and spent the night there.

This morning we got up and headed toward the border.

We didn’t get going as early as we had planned though but we were crossing about 9-ish. It looked quite different then the last time we did this. Lots more people and cars then we remembered. As we followed the other cars along, we were flagged over to the side so our car could be searched. But it was only a few minutes delay as a nice man poked around in the back and asked a few questions. Soon we were on our way.

It was cloudy when we started out.


But it cleared up and it was a beautiful day and uneventful drive! We like uneventful. No problems. Just driving and chatting and listening to music and watching the views go by.

The wild flowers were out along the road. It was very pretty.


For lunch we stopped and got sandwich makings and drove out to the ocean and had a picnic. The flowers on the beach were vibrant. Hot pink and yellow. bajaday1-3


The dogs played in the sand. Chasing each other with a stick and exhausting themselves. They’re good travel dogs but I bet it felt good to them to run free after being cooped up in the car so much.

Soon we were to our next stop. A little town called El Rosario.


Our tired pups from the long car ride today.

We love this one little motel here. It’s the first motel on the left as you come into town next to the Pemex gas station. They have some new remodelled rooms that are terrific and cost about $30 a night.

Our dogs love it too because they get to stay in our room. Belle found her place under the bed stand and Cody layed down near by.

Later we took the dogs for a walk and stopped and got tacos. I ordered my fav mexican drink…horchata. If you haven’t had some of this sweet spiced drink, you must try it. I’ve ordered it many times at different mexican restaurants in the states and in Mexico but tonight’s was the very best ever! I might try making it at home sometime. There are different ways to make it but here is a recipe if you would like to try it yourself.

Hasta luego. See you in a couple days.