Category Archives: Nature

The Angel & the Grinch



Today is the summer solstice – the first official day of summer.

After a cooler May, I’d say summer is here; most of June so far has been hot-hot-hot and dry. I know this not only from feeling the temperatures, but from watching the mountains change.

I love how the Angel of Shavano and her partner the Grinch illustrate this on Mt Shavano, one of the 14,000 + ft peaks in the Sawatch range. I’ve drawn a ragged line around these snow features in the top image (from June 8 when they were about at their prime), so hopefully you can see how the snow has changed them in the past few weeks.


Mt Shavano, May 30 2016

Everyday I see her from a bit different perspective as I go about my day in the valley where I live. On May 30 my husband and I took a hike to “the Crater” in the Arkansas Hills. It was a stormy cool day and the snow had just barely begun to melt.

Mt Shavano June 8, 2016

Mt Shavano June 8, 2016

Here they are on June 8 during an early morning jaunt on the close-in trails just above town – the grinch is peering into the angel’s armpit with his grinchy grin.


Mt Shavano June 14, 2016

On June 14, from Franz Lake just outside of town, I noticed that the angel’s one arm had become detached…and the grinch’s mouth was becoming part of his eye.

Mt Shavano June 15, 2016

Mt Shavano June 15, 2016

The next day, from up on a mesa outside of town that arm was even more melted.

[You can click on any of the double images above for a larger view of the images.]

Mt Shavano June 20, 2016

Mt Shavano June 20, 2016

and today…on the solstice both the angel and the grinch are really no longer recognizable. They have melted into the mountain for the summer.

And time continues to march on.

12Apr2012AngelAlthough I have not kept exact records of the comings and goings of the angel & the grinch, each season I love to watch them come and go. The angel makes appearances in the winter only to put on her winter blanket again. During one of our worst drought years she was almost gone by the end of April (image to the left is from April 2012).

Nature is a wonderful storyteller for what is happening in our world – whether it is watching the snow accumulate and melt from the mountains, the tides of the ocean ebb & flow, or just watching the light in the day change as the season changes.

What are the cycles in nature you enjoy watching? Or if you haven’t done so in the past, what might you watch to help you feel the passage of time?

I’d love to hear how nature tells you stories.




ExploreColored_smP.S. I’ll be taking a little storytelling break over the summer as I go on some exploring adventures with my husband. Check out my illustration to the right to see some of the places I’ll be visiting!

If you want to illustrate some of your explorations I invite you to join my mermaid community and get your musings adventure ebook! You’ll also receive my monthly mermaid tales, and in July while I’m away I’ll be sharing a few of my favorite coloring play sheets again – including the one on the right. Click here to check out all of the details and sign-up.

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Filed under My Salida Backyard, Nature, Outdoor Adventure

Wrappin’ It Up & Winners!


To wrap up the week I wanted to share my first finished spread in my Musings Adventure Journal. As my musings were specifically for the Mini Musings Adventure I collaged the header I made for the adventure’s print out to the top of the pages, along with some other painted paper scraps. The bottom right corner is a drawing from a tarot card I pulled at the beginning of the week for full moon guidance.

7-pentacles_smThe card is from The Wild Unknown deck which is the only tarot deck I own (so far:). I love the black and white illustrations, with bits of color on some cards, and I have made drawings from the cards in my musings journals periodically since I got the deck early in 2015. When I do this it sort of seals the guidance the card has for me, and it has helped my drawing skills, too! I don’t have the Wild Unknown guide book so I love Carrie Mallon’s blog post series of her interpretations on the deck.

One of the things Carrie’s interpretation of the seven of Pentacles mentioned was Get Reorganized.  Ha, I thought – the full moon has me pegged as I moved into the Mini Musings Adventure. Although I spent time thinking about what I wanted to include for my posts I did not feel organized around getting the posts created. It has been a busy week for this little mermaid.

The real point, though, of sharing my musings adventure spread is to share with you some of the ways I like to finish out my spreads. Some weeks it is bare bones, but other weeks I’m super inspired to fill up the whole page/spread. All my doodles help remind me of the time I was creating and I adore looking back on them.

Oh yes and I meant to mention I’ve been adding dates to the outside of my Musings Adventure Journal squares so I’m easily reminded of when I created them. You can see that really well on the top image in Messages for You and Me. I’m loving the flexibility of the undated squares so far! I look forward to trying some different series of doodles – that I can begin, and begin again whenever I want!

I’d like leave you with a list of other ideas you might consider for your musings:

  • Write a haiku
  • Create a 30 second illustration (inspired by Lynda Barry’s book Syllabus – this book is fascinating!)
  • Make a blind contour drawing
  • Track how your garden grows
  • Doodle across squares
  • mother–daughter moments
  • track sensations (some call it pain) if you’re on a healing journey
  • what did I put in my mouth?
  • gratitudes
  • quotes
  • [fill in your idea]

And the winners are…

Creating a Visual with Your Writing (Sticker Pages) — Dianne
Love Your Letters (Sticker Pages) — Debra
Personal Icons, Shapes & Lines (Sticker Pages) — Mtb Chick (aka Cath:)
Mini Mandala Making & a Tangled Visit (Sticker Pages) – Elaine
Messages for You & Me (Musings Adventure Journal) – Deanna

If you lovelies will email me your mailing address to lisa (at) mountainmermaidstudios (dot) com I’ll mail your prizes out! Thank you so much for your sharing, and your wonderful comments! Keep on playing along your musings adventure!

And I hope all of you have enjoyed the adventure, will keep up the doodle fun and adore looking back on your musings adventure. I have appreciated the wonderful feedback I have received and the musings that have been shared. And I always love to hear from you!







P.S.S. If you haven’t ordered your Musings Adventure Journal yet, feel free to hop on over here to check out all the details and get yours today!




Filed under Creative Play, Creativity, Daily Musings Journal, Gardening, Journaling, Lettering, Mini Musings Adventure 5-2016, Musings Adventure, Nature

Sandy Adventures


A few weekends ago my hubby and I took a spontaneous overnight – to a five star location. No — not a fancy hotel room, but a room with a view at an absolutely magical location.


We live about a one and a half hour drive from Great Sand Dunes National Park and we try to make a visit there each year in late winter or early spring. We have a wonderful room in our trusty camper van, Gandalf,  which almost ensures a five star view.

Footprints-inSand1_smOur spontaneous visit this year happened to fall on opening weekend of the park’s campground (which, due to budget, is closed in the winter until April 1) so our room with a view was extra fantastic (image above)…and access to our adventures just steps away.

Always about wondering aimlessly in the dunes, our adventures lead us to treasures that nature has left behind at that particular moment in time.





Or what man may have added



A wilderness, in contrast with those areas where man and his works dominate the landscape, is hereby recognized as an area where the earth and its community of life are untrammeled by man, where man himself is a visitor who does not remain.
~ Wilderness Act 1964


As the sun set on our weekend adventure I reflected on the beauty of our great earth and how fortunate I am to be able to behold and enjoy her magic.

How do you behold and enjoy the magic of our great earth? Please do share in the comments – I always love to hear from you!






P.S. To remind me of our sandy adventures I created this musing in my Daily Musings Journal. I love playing with the sensual lines that appear in the dunes!

You can still get your printable version of the 2016 Daily Musings Journal here. And the Musings Adventure Journal – an undated version of this fun format will be available in mid May. Click here to sign-up to receive updates.


Filed under Creative Play, Creativity, Journaling, Musings Adventure, Nature, Outdoor Adventure, Playing

Water is a Precious Resource


The March theme for the Journey Within Art Journaling class I’m participating in (and teaching in later) this year was nature and natural living. For the spread I created above I took inspiration from Cindy Gilstrap of Junque Art’s lesson about taking cues from nature around you.

Of course this is not too hard for me – because I live in the Rocky Mountains surrounded by natural beauty. But in March the mountains are still covered in snow and there is not much color popping up from the ground yet, or budding from the trees.

LowPlayholeImage_500I was thinking about Cindy’s lesson as I was taking one of my daily mid-day pedals along the river…I thought “I want to take inspiration from the water that flows through the valley.”

I stopped to stand by the playhole to soak in the sounds and the site of the river flowing through town. And I snapped this photo to the left.

I didn’t immediately do anything with this, and a little later in the month my hubby and I were hiking up Cottonwood Canyon and I was in awe of the water still flowing there (until late last spring this canyon had always been, for the most part, dry).

CottonwoodIceCrystals_500The patterns in ice crystals that had formed along the now small creek caught my eye. I became intrigued by the thought of playing with the these patterns, and so I took a photo with that in mind.


Some days later I began to play with paint & pencils & stencils & stamps.


RiverPlayholeDetail_500As I was doing this I was thinking about how important water is in our lives – and how precious it is.

This reminded me of a poem I had written and calligraphed many years ago – after returning from travels where potable water was not readily available and there was a severe drought (and wildfires) beginning to take hold in Colorado.


I wrote the poem, in white, in the top left corner of the spread, but did not like how it looked.

Especially after watching Cindy’s lesson videos, I knew this was OK – she had encouraged us to use my intuition and that nothing is a mistake because with mixed media it can always be covered over with more layers.

This is exactly what I did – knowing that it was still part of the spread! I did add the first line of the poem back onto the spread, too.

I’ve written out the text of my short poem below.


water is a precious resource.

drink it to hydrate, or perish.

appreciate it, for everywhere it is not so easily accessible.

bathe in it, warm water soothes your muscles and your soul.

conserve it, otherwise soon you will not have it.

I love living so close to the beautiful Arkansas River.  I really do try to visit the river’s edge each day – if only to pedal along the path through town and back home again.

I feel truly fortunate to live where drinking water is good coming from my kitchen sink, and that without much thought I can stand under warm, soothing water in my shower.

I know I am not perfect about conserving water, but I always try to keep in mind that my easy access to water is a luxury really and I am fortunate to have such ready access to this life sustaining resource. I hope this musing will inspire you to feel the same.

Thank you dear Cindy for providing the inspiration for my journal spread, and this reminder about water – that flowed through me as I created.





P.S. If The Journey Within – A Year of Handmade Journals sounds intriguing, it’s not too late to join in the fun!! Click here to learn more. (full disclosure — this is an affiliate link:)


Here’s a little sneak peak about my new offering – coming later this spring.


The Musings Adventure Journal is a new undated version of the Daily Musings Journal! Stay tuned for more details coming soon – Sign-up here!

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Filed under Book Binding, Creative Play, Creativity, Inspiration, Journaling, mixed media, My Salida Backyard, Nature, Playing

Happy Spring!


Where I live in the Rocky Mountains spring does not arrive with an abundance of color. The signs of spring are much more subtle here at 7,000 feet – like the tiny dot of brilliant gold from the one lonely crocus in my front yard.

Although some yards have many colorful crocuses, the real signs of spring are more like

warm big blue days on the slopes where the snow is till abundant (fortunately)…


temperatures warm enough to stop and create ephemeral art while out on a hike…


beautiful ice crystal patterns along Cottonwood…


the sun not dipping behind the 14,000 + ft peaks until nearly 7:30 pm…


And if we’re lucky a spring blizzard that dumps a few more feet of snow in the mountains before the real melting begins…

A strong spring run-off is vitally important to feed the rivers and farmlands and to help to keep the dust at bay (at least for a little while).
And it is then that the leaves will begin to bud and the flowers will begin to unfurl their color, in earnest, in my Rocky Mountain valley.

How does spring unfurl where you live? I’d love to hear about it!

Wishing you the happiest of springs!





P.S. Unfurl is the word that I will be using as I create the color-in play sheet for the April Mermaid Tales ezine. I’d love to have you join me there. Click here to learn more and sign-up.

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Filed under Creativity, Everyday Adventure, Friends, Joy, My Salida Backyard, Nature, Playing, Playing at Altitude