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Turkeys at South Llano River State Park near Junction, Texas. Photo by Dana Jones©

Turkeys at last! As I headed out of South Llano River State Park, the resident turkeys must have read my blog yesterday. I said after three stays at the park, I'd yet to see them. As I exited the park, there they were. A great way to start my day.

Today was overcast with periods of drizzle. I stayed off the interstate driving through parts of western Texas new to me. Most of the drive was flat, open land with occassional small towns. It may have been the gray day, but I was struck by how depressed the towns looked. So many boarded up stores, so many rundown homes, so little traffic. The light traffic was okay by me. Within a few miles of my destination — Caprock Canyons State Park — the terrain changed. The entrance to the park was open prairie but a few miles into the park, the canyons for which it's named began to appear. Stunning red cliffs!

Caprock Canyons State Park. Photos by Dana Jones.©

There were signs everywhere to watch for bison on the road. My first drive of the park road showed evidence they'd been there but no bison in sight. That changed on my second trip down the road. A woman stopped roadside with camera alerted me there was something to see up ahead. Three bison were headed down the road, walking single file with apparent purpose.

Bison at Caprock Canyons State Park. Photo by Dana Jones.©

As I headed up a hill, setting sun in my eyes, I encountered a bison roadblock. It was a surrealistic sight as they were silhouetted against the sky.

Bragging Rights

Backing my R-Pod into campsites is challenging. Today was a tough angle. But I do need to say that Emma — yes my R-Pod has a name — and I seem to have a new understanding. My backing skills have improved leaps and bounds this trip.

Upcoming Demystifying Class: Photo to Pattern

With just two days of driving 'til I'm home, I'm thinking about upcoming quilt lectures and classes. This month's session of my "Demystifying Design for Foundation Piecing" workshop is full so I've scheduled a session in May. If you've not taken this class, consider signing up.

A photo can inspire a quilt design.

Pattern design based on photo. © by Dana Jones

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Armadillo welcome at South Llano River State Park near Junction, Texas. Photo by Dana Jones.©

After a day of windy conditions along I-10 through eastern Texas, it was good to arrive at South Llano River State Park. With a few hours of daylight left, I hiked one of the park's trails. Three deer sailed across the trail in front of me followed by an armadillo who was taking her/his time and seemed oblivious to my presence.

I stopped at a bird blind where I enjoyed watching at least a dozen cardinals, a blue bird and numerous others birds. What a delight!

This park is home to the largest population of wild turkeys in Texas but I arrived too late to visit the roosting areas. Guess I'll have to visit this park again.

Photos by Dana Jones©

As I was preparing my camper for the night, folks from an area astronomy group began setting up for a dark-skies event in a parking area just across the road. I guess such events are held frequently at this park. Close to 30 people gathered around three telescopes as the leaders of the event explained a number of night-sky phenomenon. Quite interesting. I live in a dark-sky county so am familiar with such events. Maintaining dark-sky places is so important to the health of our planet.

Quilt Design Class to Debut This Fall

Car time is often a time when my brain gets creative. Today was such a day. I will offer a multi-session, in-depth quilt design workshop via Zoom this fall. It's been a while since I've taught a design class so I knew I wanted to add to and rework some of what I've taught in the past. Today the ideas just kept flowing. I'm quite excited about the possibilities and will be sharing more in an upcoming newsletter.

In the meantime, I hope you'll consider enrolling in "Finding Your Design Sense." We'll meet for four three-hours sessions. Classes will be from 10 a.m.-noon (MST) Thursdays, September 15, October 13, November 10 and December 8. The cost will be $140. There will be some reading and projects to tackle between classes.

This workshop will introduce you to the basics of design — balance, unity, variety, line, shape, value, color, pattern, texture and more — through in-class activities and at-home play projects.

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Red-winged blackbirds in the marsh at Sea Rim State Park south of Port Arthur, Texas, along the Gulf of Mexico. Photo by Dana Jones©

When I teach color classes, I begin with an exercise that helps students get in touch with the color palette of their lives. For years, I couldn’t figure out why when I enter quilt shops, I’m drawn to orange, brown and gold fabrics — colors often associated with autumn but not my quilts. Then I did the exercise, which I adaptated from Joen Wolfrom’s book Visual Coloring. My happy place as a child was playing in a remnant of tall-grass prairie. I realized these colors resonant deep inside me. They call to my soul.

Upon arriving at Sea Rim State Park along Gulf of Mexico in southeast Texas yesterday, I was greeted by a color palette surprisingly akin to the prairie palette of my childhood. A red-winged blackbird flew by, and the memories flooded in. I had to smile.

Photo by Dana Jones©

I’m not much of a beach person but this beach is not so much a place to relax in the sun as it is a place to get to know the plants and animals that call this transition zone between sea and land home. Last night I watched a flock of ibis and a dizzying array of other shorebirds culling dinner from the nutrient soup of the marsh and pelicans capturing dinner with their signature belly flop into the sea.

Photo by Dana Jones©

While there were signs everywhere warning visitors not to crab near alligators, I’ve seen neither crabs nor alligators. It’s a bit chilly even in the sun for the alligators to be active. I’ve never crabbed — not the same as being crabby — so I’m not sure how you search out those critters. I remember the crabs on Caohagan Island scurrying out of sight so I’m guessing they’ve seen me.

Shorebirds. Photo by Dana Jones©

"Opossum" by Walter Anderson, 1903-1965, from The Little Room.

Discovering Artists Walter Anderson and Martha Kelly

As I walked the Sea Rim beach and marsh today, I thought about something I'd read at the Walter Anderson Museum of Art in Ocean Springs, Mississippi, a few days ago. One section of the exhibition of Anderson’s work is organized by shape. The sign says Anderson believed there were two kinds of shapes: geometric, which are based on a set of rules, and organic, found in nature. The examples of each of these kinds of shapes were from the natural world. So today as I walked, I looked for examples of the geometry of living things, the patterns of life. And I looked for organic lines. I began to think that the geometry is often made with organic lines.

From left, "Wild Bells" by Walter Anderson was shown as an example of geometric shapes and "Magnolia Seed Pod" as an example of organic shapes.

Lots to think about as I contemplate Walter Anderson’s concept of shapes.

"Road to Oldfields" by Walter Anderson.

While at the museum, I met the work of Martha Kelly, who claims Anderson’s art among inspirations for her art. The exhibition of her work, “Hints of Gladness” features her block prints. Check out her work. If you're near Ocean Springs from now until August 28, I suggest you plan a visit to this museum.

"Pelican" by Martha Kelly.

"Home" by Martha Kelly.

My campsite at Sea Rim State Park.

Working My Way Home

I continue my drive home tomorrow. Destination: South Llano River State Park near Junction, Texas. I've stayed overnight at this park twice before. It's a nesting area for wild turkeys but I've yet to see one. Perhaps tomorrow I will.

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