Cross country tour, Part 3, and further thoughts, with reflections on the year 2018

I dropped the ball on recounting our cross-country tour soon after we arrived back home. Life has a way of interrupting our momentum, especially when we turn our attention toward other matters. With the year 2018 now in the rearview mirror, I thought it a good time to finish recounting the big trip from the fall, since we’re about to hit to the road again for a “short” trip along the Eastern US.  More about that in a bit.

After Houston and the remarkable rendezvous with Marla, we set out in a westerly direction toward our next workshop at the Scottsdale Artists School in Scottsdale, AZ. Along the way found time to visit with family in Arlington, Dallas, and Mesa, AZ. We arrived at the SAS on Sunday October 21, and were blown away by the beauty of the community and the spectacular facility of the school  To say we were excited would be a gross understatement!


Our workshop was scheduled for Monday, October 22, through Friday, October 26, a full five days. This would be the longest workshop I’d done to date, and the length and time with the students afforded me the luxury of presenting the material and choosing subject matter that we could dive deeply into. It was a fabulous week! We even found plenty of time to explore Old Town Scottsdale, a beautiful and vibrant arts community. This was a truly special stop on our tour, and it was with reluctance that we would drive away on our quest to find our next destination in the California Gold Coast. We will be back in Scottsdale, October 21-25, 2019! Excited to return!!

We found Santa Paula to be a fairly quiet, somewhat remote city nestled in a valley between Ventura on the coast and Ojai just over the mountains. We came there because of the Santa Paula Art Museum and their amazing new Creativity Center, which gracious host, Wendy Gordin, had discovered as the ideal venue for our workshop. We had a wonderful three days, had a chance to connect with new friends, reconnect with old ones, and explore the beautiful California Gold Coast. We found Ojai to be especially to our liking, and vowed to return whenever we’re back in the area.

Our next and final workshop destination took us south to Sierra Madre, a beautiful “vintage” town nestled in the hills just above Pasadena. I say vintage, because it looks like a movie set from a period Hollywood film set in the 40’s or 50’s. We arrived on Halloween, and the whole town was resplendent with whimsical, ghoulish, and clever costumes, as it seemed ever single resident of the town had dressed for the event. The streets were blocked off, and the place was swarming with devilish delight! We felt we had wandered into a movie set actively filming!!

Our workshop took place in a gorgeous English-style Conservatory set in the backyard of our hosts, known as the Lavender Marketplace. To say it was idyllic, with the brilliant California sun piercing the trees and flooding the entire venue with its warmth and light, all the way framed by the mountains just behind the trees, would be a failure to do it justice. Our time there, teaching the eager students, basking in the late October/November “summer,” and playing with our new found friends, was alluring. We honestly wanted to stay indefinitely! But family and the holidays were calling, so we reluctantly drove back north for a final demo in Thousand Oaks, and began our long eastbound trek home. When we left Southern California on November 7, the temps were in the upper 80’s. When we stopped for the night in Cedar City, Utah, it was 24 degrees! Shocking!!

We had a final stop visiting family in the Denver area, before we streaked across the northern route to arrive home on November 12. We had just spent 50 days on the road and were delighted to be home and reunited with our beloved Rosetti! Soon, we would be immersed in family and Thanksgiving and routine, closely followed by the Christmas and New Year holidays. Whew, what a journey! 

And, now, back to the road…

We leave this time on January 14 for stops at the Art Loft, in Dahlonega, GA, Warehouse521 in Nashville, TN, and the Southern Atelier in Sarasota, FL. Wish us luck!!


Ellen Brandin

Love to read about your vagabond art adventures!  Sounds like such fun.  Thank you for sharing.  Having traveled extensively throughout my 56 years of marriage, with many art adventures throughout many parts of the world, I get a vicarious thrill from reading about your travels.  Now in our late golden years, my travel art adventures are fewer.  My last one was in September in San Francisco where I attended a workshop with Katie g Whipple.  Hope to  attend one of your workshops in the future.  

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Charu Rajagopalan

Best wishes for your trip!

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