Blazing Saddles Ride

Payden Ride.jpg

Yesterday kicked my ass. And my CROTCH. And the bottoms of my feet, my toes, my forearms and my neck. But mostly my crotch. Fortunately my thighs, calves and lungs held up pretty damn good for the whole 100 miles. My spirit wavered occasionally and I had the shit scared out of me twice. But it was worth it.

Fifty people donated in support of my ride. Together we raised over $3000 of the $15,000 at the Blazing Saddles event to help Montana families of children with cancer. Your support helped carry me across those miles.

When I faced a knurly headwind during the 8th hour on that tiny abusive seat on top of those impossibly skinny hard tires I swore out loud. Seriously. I also panted a mantra the last few miles, “you are healthy – you are healthy – you are healthy” which was as close as I could get to “you are strong” and “you got this” because at those moments when the wind pounded my spirit and the relentless deep cracks in the pavement punched my softest most sensitive parts, I didn’t feel like I “had this” or that I was “strong.” I felt like crying and more than anything I wanted to be DONE.

My pain was real. But I was heartily aware that my pain was temporary and a self-imposed “luxury” that comes from a choice I made while being healthy, unlike young’uns faced with cancer. Cancer has touched all of us one way or another. I witnessed my father’s last breath when pancreatic cancer took him. I saw the fear in my mother’s eyes when they wheeled her away to cut off her breast. The day before the ride a courageous dear friend who continues to fight texted (without whining) that he was “Feeling lousy today. Weak from chemo and sick.”

I do not personally know a child with cancer but I thought about three new babies recently born to 3 of the ten couples Raymond has married. I rode for those healthy babies and their future even as I road for the children currently fighting. Yesterday was the kind of day that took me places within myself that are both personal and not-at-all about “self.”

It’s not too late to donate: The Payden Foundation

Blazing Saddles.jpg

Artist in Action at the National Museum of Wildlife Art

She didn't believe tools were for girls but she left feeling totally different - so fun!!! What a trip for me to leave the solitude of my studio at the end of the road near the top of a mountain for a week of sharing tools and inspiration with people of all ages!  Jackson is a magical place nestled in the well-muscled arms of Momma Nature on steroids.  The National Museum of Wildlife Art is a grand stone castle-like animal art dream world.  My days began with early morning mountain bike rides up Cache Creek near my dear friend Leslie’s house (she hosted Zaydee and I for the week).  The museum hosted a special event artist’s talk with an impressive turn out and so much fun!!!

I'm not sure who was more proud - the little fella or his parents

The best part of my work at the museum was connecting with, inspiring and empowering people.  I love to see a light go on when people handle a power tool for the first time!  Hard to pick a favorite moment but one of my many enduring memories was with a matronly southern belle decked out in broad brimmed hat and bling who had never had a power tool in her hand but took after it with all the gumption of a baseball pro hitting a home run.  I didn’t think she was going to leave a significant chunk of wood uncarved – she kept at it with gusto.

What a fine fun opportunity and a grand week spent in the shadow of the Tetons.

He saw an alligator in the wood and spent an intensely focused hour and half until he brought the alligator out of the wood (and took it home).



Sip and Zip Party...!

A "sneak peek" at the new sculpture series...



























Next week the sculptures will be going to the National Museum of Wildlife Art in Jackson, WY where I am an artist in residence from July 7-11.

Thursday, June 26th I want to celebrate with you...!  (5-8 pm)
Many of you have followed my journey creating the large reliquary sculptures.  The most recent series  “I Never Promised You a Rose Garden” was featured in my TEDx talk and is currently installed at the Cancer Center in the Billings Clinic.  The idea of creating healing sanctuaries within public places such as hospitals resonates as part of my calling as an artist.  But what you might not know is that for years I have been experimenting with the challenge to create meaningful small-scale reliquaries - intimate sculptures that pack the same punch.  Nothing I created captivated me until this year when at last the puzzle pieces fell together.

A whole new series and scale kept me sequestered in the studio for months.  

I am sooooo excited about the new works….!

Influenced by Native American feather baskets I saw in the Denver Art Museum a few winters ago, the niches are “feathered.”   My recent obsession with old barbwire continues to weave itself into the art along with a life-long fascination with animal skulls.  The result is a new series of eighteen sculptures titled with lines from Pablo Neruda’s prose.

I look forward to celebrating with you!!!!