Nature:  Our Source of Inspiration [Photo Blog]
During this time of staying close to home, we count our blessings that we live in a beautiful place surrounded by the beauty of Nature. This is the source of our inspiration, our muse, and we thought since we are not getting out much this year, that we will invite you into our world.
First, a bird's eye view, courtesy of our son, Jaimie, who is a pilot and currently enjoying his drone. Here are a few shots of where we live in the coastal range of Mendocino County, southwest of Willits, CA. This is a view of the area we live in: rugged and wild. We bought the land, 39 undeveloped and off-the-grid acres in 1980. It was affordable and beautiful. As we drove on to the land we saw a golden eagle carrying a snake and that felt like an omen. We haven't seen that since. 

And now a shot of our house nestled in the hills.

And now as we get a little closer you can see the solar panels and the evacuated solar water collectors on our roof, as well as the hot tub we bought 30 years ago, a purchase we made from the proceeds of selling chanterelle and matsutake mushrooms that we foraged from our land and sold to restaurants in the bay area. That was before the mushroom buyers set up shop in Willits.

Our house is a solar passive envelope house that we built between 1983 and 1986. Gary built it with a friend, except for the foundation and the drywall, which we subcontracted out. If you are curious about what an envelope house is here is an article about it, although our house is nowhere near as fancy as the ones depicted in the article: https://pros-and-cons-of-the-double-envelope-house

We love to hike around our land so let's take you on a walk. The west side of our house faces a hill, upon which we have our terraced garden and orchard, with over a  hundred fruit and nut trees that we planted. Here is a view of the house from the top of the orchard.

As we hike further up the hill Janae takes some nature shots. She loves the texture that she sees in the trees, rocks, moss, and lichen and loves to take photos that can be seen as abstract paintings. Actually, these types of photos have been the source for many of her acrylic painting - maybe we will share those in a future blog post.

Now we will continue to hike up to the top of our driveway, which is a half-mile long. At the top is a road where, at certain points, you can see the ocean from 22 miles away as the crow flies. We will take you to a spot we love. So let's head south at the top of the driveway and walk about quarter-mile to a spot we love where we can see the ocean on a clear day. These photos don't show the horizon but it is out there.

This time we remembered the binoculars.

How about a selfie?

So heading back home here are a couple of views as we head back down to the house.

I love these trees that welcome us as we get closer to the house, although I think we may need to cut a few that are leaning over the road for fire safety.

And as we get closer to the house we see our shop. Downstairs is a wood shop and storage, and upstairs is where we use to do all of our screen-printing. Now that we are block-printing, we work in the house, but Gary is thinking about getting back into screen-printing again, so look out for some new and resurrected designs!

Okay, now let's go into the garden where Janae loves to photograph flowers at a close range. 

First a peak into a digitalis. Look who's there!

We have some thornless blackberries and it looks like the bees are very happy pollinating the flowers so we can have lots of blackberries.

The bees love a lot of the flowers in the garden. This bees was doing a dance in the poppy pollen!

And ahhh...the roses!

The flowering maple - abutilon, hangs gracefully and sways in the breeze.

Even the common dandelion shares her delicate and radial symmetry and beauty. 

This is one of Janae's favorite lilies.

Except of course, the Peruvian lilies are a big favorite because they last so long indoors. But Janae's favorite in the garden is her beloved gardener!

We hope you enjoyed your visit and sharing where our inspiration as artists comes from.


Cynthia J Kendall

Date 6/30/2020


Date 7/1/2020 4:33:13 PM

pam kuykendall

Date 6/30/2020 10:33:34 PM


Date 3/30/2021

Janae Stephens

Date 3/30/2021 5:36:09 PM

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