ART, Attractions, DESTINATIONS, DFW Metroplex, Road Trips, Shopping, TRAVEL

2015 Cottonwood Creek Art Festival Wrap


I didn’t plan on attending Cottonwood Creek Art Festival both days, but I enjoyed the show so much on Saturday morning, that I convinced Bill to return on Sunday afternoon.  This show just keeps on getting better.  Here’s the best part.  You don’t have to wait until next fall for it to come back.  Look for it in the spring.

Pamela's card: www.pamelablaies
Pamela’s card:

A Few of My Favorites

PamelaBlaies – If money were no object, I’d have a new painting on my walls this morning by Pamela Blaies.  Having just built this house, art is a little outside my budget right now.  Pamela is a local artist and I love her style.  It’s very realistic, with a subtle smudging, reminiscent of Impressionism, but different.  The effect is soft and tranquil.

My home is French and the color scheme is blue and yellow.  I loved all of Pamela’s paintings, but I particularly wanted one featuring lemons with a cobalt blue goblet.  The link above will take you right to it.  Pamela is also a very nice lady and I would love to be among her patrons.

Card from Peaceful Prairie Pottery
Card from Peaceful Prairie Mosaics

Peaceful Prairie Mosaics

Word to the wise!  She who hesitates at Cottonwood Creek Art Festival  is also lost.  On Saturday, my friend Deborah particularly liked a mosaic  in the Peaceful Prairie Pottery booth, because she felt the quote in it described our friendship to a tee.  I could have bought it on Saturday and should have bought it on Saturday because on Sunday when I would have bought it, it was gone.

The craftsmanship in Peaceful Prairie Mosaics is stellar and the heart behind it all must be pure gold.  I can only imagine the time it must take to find all the quotes they incorporate into their beautiful works of art.  The finished works are not only beautiful, they tug at your heartstrings with each glance.  I am a fan!

Excerpt from Bettys brochure
Excerpt from Bettys brochure

Betty Robbins

Something else I loved were the creations of Betty Robbins.  She turns anyone’s life into a masterpiece!  Deborah and I have been friends for more than three decades.  We imagined our journey together in a painting – meeting in Lord & Taylor’s NorthPark, cruising the Bahamas, exploring Eureka Springs and just doing life together along the way.  Betty would have to make duplicates.

Something else Deb and I admired was a quartet of paintings of the same scene in four seasons.  Betty said that in her own home she rotates the paintings according to the season, but to me they looked pretty wonderful hanging on the wall together.  On Saturday there had been a Texas themed quartet.  By Sunday it was gone (sold) and had been replaced by a scene with trains.

If Betty did a painting of my twenty plus years with my husband, she’d be covering real estate from the Dallas Museum of Art where we met, to Hawaii where we honeymooned, to Egypt where Bill was born.  Then I imagined a painting telling the story of my Mom and Dad, because they put in a lot of windshield time during road trips.  There is no end to the possibilities.

Gary Moser
Gary Moser’s Postcard

Gary Moser

So how gorgeous would a lady like this be next to my pond?  I completely agree with you.  This particular piece is 31 inches tall, but her big sister was about my height.

Gary Moser works out of the Welded Donkey studio in Scottsdale, AZ.  In addition to his beautiful work, one of the things I like about Gary is that like me, he discovered his passion later in life.  To quote his promotional postcard, “Steel just kind of grabbed me by the collar, and it has led me on an amazing journey.”  Words have kind of grabbed me by the collar too and I’m interested to see where we’ll go.

Since I wasn’t able to bring home one of Pamela Blaies’ lovely works, it’s not hard for you to guess that I wouldn’t be able to afford a life-sized sculpture for my pond, but God willing and the creek don’t rise, that pond isn’t going anywhere and there is always tomorrow.

Postcard from Parker Parker Design Photography
Postcard from Parker Parker Design Photography

Parker Parker

Here’s what I noticed at this show, photography is changing the face of art.  I have always loved the art of photography, but this digital age is blurring the lines between between painting and photography, because nowadays computers can add painterly qualities to photographs.

The works of James W. Parker are a perfect example.  His photographs were taken across this great nation of ours. They capture wide empty places and abandoned homes of a disappearing landscape.  The haunting images inspired questions for me, like “who lived here,” “what happened that made them leave,” and “where is this, I want to go see it.”

Parker Parker doesn’t just take great photos, he uses technology to make what he photographs even more beautiful.  I loved his work.  Visit his website and you will too.

In the park on festival day
In the park on festival day

Lots More to Love

Well, this could go on forever, because I loved, loved, loved so many of the wonderful artists at the show, but I don’t want to wear our my welcome.  There are so many gorgeous works of art that you could spend all your time visiting the artists’ booths, but when you visit the Cottonwood Creek Art Festival, you shouldn’t stop there.

During my visits my companions and I enjoyed hot chocolate, latte, gyros, craft beer, a pretzel and a buffalo sausage on a bun.  There are talented musicians you’ll love to listen to.  There’s even an activity area for kids.  We thoroughly enjoyed the dog parade, also.  That’s not an official part of the festival, but so many people showed up parading so many breeds of dogs that they should add it to their marketing.

I’ll leave you with these postcards and business cards I picked up along the way.  I’ve tried to identify the artists so you can get in touch with them if intrigued, but don’t hesitate to contact me if you can’t get the info you want.  I’ll be glad to share.

Attractions, DESTINATIONS, DFW Metroplex, TRAVEL

State Fair of Texas

The New Big Tex
The New Big Tex


I interrupt this series of blogs about traveling beyond DFW to remind everyone that it’s State Fair time in Texas.  If you’ve followed this blog for very long or know this blogger, then you know I love me some State Fair of Texas.

Free-style Fair Visit

This year I tried something new, a free-style fair visit.  If you’ll remember, free-style cruising didn’t suit me very well, but life’s been a little bit demanding lately.  I just didn’t have time to fully research this year’s fair before showing up.  We just headed south on 75, cut over to 45 and ended up on MLK Boulevard.

I guess we might have been a little earlier than usual, because the parking flaggers weren’t out in droves.  There were Park Here signs all around, but it wasn’t quite clear which signs went with which spots and no one was begging us to park there.  We happened upon a nice young man, out in the yard with his little house-coated grandmother, but they were taking out the trash, not selling parking places.  They invited us to park in her front yard and accepted $5 as an afterthought.

Inside the Greenhouse. This photo was taken last year, but it's the same this year.
Inside the Greenhouse. This photo was taken last year, but it’s the same this year.

We entered at Gate Nine, which is by the Carousel and Midway Greenhouse.  We made the first potty stop behind the carousel and set out to find our first corny dog.   We enjoyed our Fletcher’s and Shiner break at a picnic table near the Coca Cola Stage, but we’d missed the performance, whatever it was. Next up was Big Tex.

If you follow me on facebook, you saw some photos of Big Tex that I shared from another site a few days ago.  I was pretty critical of the guy, but come to find out, what I hated most, the Santa Fe colored clothing and boots, aren’t a part of his reality.  It was a trick of the lighting or photoshop or something.  His outfit was better than I’d hoped for, but one thing’s for sure, whoever put him together knows nothing about human proportions.  Big Tex really is chunkier than he used to be, but unless Lucchese has started making thigh-high boots for men, somebody’s done something wrong.

Next was the Grand Place.  You know that building where they have the outdoor spas and vibrating chairs.  I have no idea why we went, but we always do.  One quick circuit and we were out, but I did sample the wine slushies.  Not a big hit with us.

2013-10-06 14.16.14

On to the Automobile Building – gotta keep my fella happy.  I thought the Ford Robot Guy was interesting and Bill kicked some Cadillac tires, but we spent most of our time at Chrysler’s Golf Simulator.

Across the Esplanade, Bill sat in Hyundai’s Genesis and Equus, as well as a short sojourn in a Lincoln, but I don’t think Mercedes has anything to worry about. He will be buying one of the new CLA’s.  Just give him some time.

We checked out the rest of the Centennial Building and fell in love with some fancy yard furniture, but the price tag was a bit hefty.  We could better afford some of the offerings in the Embarcadero, but we didn’t see anything we wanted.

A perennial favorite with us is the Creative Arts Showcase and this year was no different.  We made our first of two visits, lingering over the photos.  Then we knew it was time for some more fair food.

The break that really refreshes.
The break that really refreshes.

Last year we’d really had a good time in the Texas Wine Garden, so we headed that way.  This year, Texas Craft Beers had invaded the wine garden and it was a perfect afternoon for a cold one.  Bill got the beer and sent me on a food safari.  Well, I checked out the cheese trays, but we’d have needed to bring all our friends to justify one, so I headed down to Hans Mueller’s.  It wasn’t exactly next door, but definitely worth the trek.  A plate of too many cheese cubes was twenty-four coupons in the wine garden, but for sixteen I got three brats, a huge roll, sauerkraut and some German potato salad.  Yum, just perfect to share with our Texas craft beer.

Another hit from last year had been the Sensodyne toothpaste tent.  I swear Bill got enough samples to last him the year, so he wanted to see if they had a tent this year.  The program lists them as a sponsor, but we never did find their space.  If anyone else does, please bring Bill a few tubes.  Instead of toothpaste, I got a Hill’s dog food sample and a few bites of Wolf Brand Chili.  Bill considered the Chevy Test Drive and Air Force Simulator, but the crowds deterred him from both.

The Kildares were just as good this year as they were in this picture from last year.
The Kildares were just as good this year as they were in this picture from last year.

Heading back towards the Texas Food & Fiber Building, Bill’s tires ran low and he wanted some funnel cake.  The Kilidares were playing on the Dr. Pepper Stage, so I offered to find him some funnel cake and went to grab myself a Diet Dr. Pepper, my beverage of choice.  The Diet DP would have been easy enough, but for some reason, funnel cake wasn’t represented nearby.  I kept thinking, “There has to be some in the next batch of food vendors,” but that took me all the way back to Big Tex.  I finally found his treat inside the Tower Building, but I’d already been gone too long.  My phone rang and Bill wanted to make sure I hadn’t been mugged.  I found a shortcut back, but by then, my tires were running low, too.

As we relaxed, the Kildares (who’d quit playing shortly after I left on the serach for funnel cake) came back onto their revolving stage and we enjoyed their beautiful Celtic music.  As we considered what to do next, I checked the daily program and it said there were samples in the Food & Fiber building until seven. We detoured through the Creative Arts Showcase to avoid the crowds, but enjoyed getting another look at the crafts.  When we reached the Food & Fiber Building we discovered the program had lied.  We arrived by 6:30 and the place was a ghost town.  Even Elsie and Beauregard had found other places to be.

Jane and Big Tex in 2012
Jane and Big Tex in 2012

So far, the day had been perfect with one small miscalculation.  As we sat in the wine garden, someone said they were leaving and offered us their remaining coupons.  I made the mistake of thinking they were offering to GIVE us the coupons, because that’s what I always do when the day is over, but NO!  They expected us to pay them and it flummoxed me so that I actually did.  Now Bill was damned and determined to recoup my loss as we wandered back to Gate Nine.

On our quest to spend our coupons, we visited the Elvis impersonator on the Silverado Stage, checked out the Craft Pavilion and gazed down the Esplanade.  Bill decided he could forego the Illumination Sensation, but he did want to get rid of the coupons, so I opted for another Fletcher’s Corny Dog from the stand down by The Old Mill. We hooked up with Big & Bright Boulevard and caught a peek at The Chinese Lantern Festival.  We were there about the time that the Parade was lining up, so instead of standing on the sidelines and watching the parade pass, we strolled along looking at the floats.

Entrance to Fair Park's Chinese Lantern Festival
Entrance to Fair Park’s Chinese Lantern Festival

One taste treat that I’d been eyeing all day was some beverage concoction in a pineapple.  I finally found the booth at the end of the Cotton bowl Plaza, but it cost more coupons than we had remaining.  Then I found Bill by one of the ticket booths hawking our last coupons, so I realized it was time to go home.

This was a great weekend.  Dallas had that perfect October weather Cottonwoodthing going on.  I attended two events of my 40th High School Reunion and made a visit to Cottonwood Art Festival.  A weekend like this is reason enough to live in Texas.

ART, Attractions, Decorative Arts, DESTINATIONS, DFW Metroplex, Performing Arts, Road Trips, Shopping, TRAVEL

Cottonwood Arts Festival


They say the familiarity breeds contempt and that’s a little harsh, but easy availability can give rise to complacency.  The Cottonwood Arts Festival has been around for decades, it’s free and it’s close.  Yet it’s been years since I bothered to go.  My loss, completely, my loss.  So when my friend Deborah called and suggested a visit on Saturday morning I was quick on the uptake.  I just didn’t realize that I was going to freeze to death.

The Cottonwood Arts Festival

Cottonwood Park, home of the festival, is on Beltline in Richardson, right across from a high school with a football stadium.  We parked at the high school and a shuttle dropped us off at the entrance to the park.  As cool as it was, I was surprised at the bustling crowd.  On a warmer day we might have been faced with quite a trek.

What I noticed right away was the crisp, professional look of the event grounds. The white booths are lined up with military precision on aisles marked with large nylon banners sporting the names of famous artist’s like O’Keefe and Matisse.   No cheap camping awnings of blue plastic with rickety card tables and cigar box cash boxes for Cottonwood.  It’s a juried show, not a place for those riding in their first rodeo.

The next couple of hours were given over to pure enjoyment.  The painting, sculpture and decorative arts  were nice, but I’ll admit I lingered longer at the jewelry counters.  Innovative designs, unusual materials, excellent craftsmanship and the-sky’s-the-limit creativity were evident throughout the festival, whether the medium was exotic woods, diamonds, glass or clay.

More than just a feast for the eyes, Cottonwood offers up musical entertainment, as well as food.  A Beatles cover band was playing old favorites  as I sniffed the air for favorite scents.  I had a delicious pretzel and some marvelous candied pecans, but there was everything from fried Oreos to fruit smoothies – a little something for everyone.

I’ve got to tell you though, Cottonwood’s not for the faint of pocketbook.  Admiring one sculpture, I spied a $6,900 price tag.  A gold ring showcasing a rare type of quartz was about $1000 less.  Even a bowl made from exotic woods cost $378.  I’ll give you that it was pretty, but Home Goods has similar stuff for more like $78.  I’m sure the wood is less exotic and it’s machine made, rather than hand-crafted, but I couldn’t help wondering who bought this stuff.  Do people really leave home on a chilly Saturday morning and come home with a $6,900 sculpture for the table in the entry hall.

People were making purchases, though.  No one whipped out their debit card for the $6,900 sculpture while I was there, but I did see people with all manner of odd-shaped packages, suggesting they’d fallen in love with something they couldn’t leave behind.  Maybe I’m just a tightwad.

I did make one purchase that I didn’t eat.  October is Deborah’s birthday month, so I told her to keep her eyes open for something she loved.  The hand-painted silk shawl she chose was thankfully in my price range.  Good friends don’t expect good friends to go broke.

How about you?  Would you go to an art festival and drop seven large for your foyer?  Whether you would or you wouldn’t, you’d enjoy strolling through the park and seeing all the beautiful pieces of handi-craft.  So watch for it when the bi-annual show comes back in the spring.  You’ll be warmer then.