Tag Archives: Arizona

Arctic Tundra

Arctic Tundra by Karen Gadient, 2014

Arctic Tundra. For a larger version and print, please click the image.

Because I needed to paint something cold now that it’s above 110°F. Whew!

The snow is sparkling like a million little suns. — Lama Willa Miller


Filed under Art, Color, Digital Artwork, Nature, Painting, Quotes

Cholla Sunset

Cholla Sunset by David Gadient, 2014

Catching the sunset at Desert Botanical Garden here in Phoenix. We’re members and proud to support. Whether you’re local or visiting, the Garden is a wonderful place to explore the beauty of the Sonoran Desert.

Photo by my husband David Gadient.


Filed under Arizona, Landscape, Nature, Phoenix, Photography

Chihuly Blue

Chihuly Blue by David Gadient, 2014

Another vivid photograph taken by my husband David Gadient. This is part of the Chihuly exhibition at Desert Botanical Garden here in Phoenix, Arizona. We’re members and proud to support. Whether you’re local or visiting, the Garden is a wonderful place to explore the beauty of the Sonoran Desert.


Filed under Arizona, Color, Nature, Phoenix, Photography

KarPaiTwenMo: Painted Desert

KarPaiTwenMo: Painted Desert by Karen Gadient

Painted Desert – I’ve lived in Arizona for more than a decade now, but this is my first landscape painting. Majestic view with some extra bursts of color.


Filed under Arizona, Art, Color, KarPaiTwenMo, Nature, Painting

KarPaiTwenMo: Week Two

KarPaiTwenMo: Week Two: Sanctum - Digital Artwork by Karen Gadient

I didn’t realize how I’d feel once the holiday season started creeping in. The mall is already playing Christmas music and it’s not even Thanksgiving yet. It’s actually bad enough it’s Thanksgiving when you’ve lost someone close to you.

Anyway, I’m not making more posts about how sad I am. I’m sad. No surprise. Grief sucks. Also no surprise. I’m not fishing for sympathy comments.

However, if you want to comment a funny joke, I’m all ears. Sillier the better!

Speaking of jokes… let me share one straight from my dentist’s office—my dentist, by the way, is amazing and will cure your fear of dentistry if you have any—so if you’re the Phoenix area, check them out—they may also have kittens. Yes, kittens. Well, cats. Our two little kitty boys were fostered by my dentist, no joke. She still has their momma. My dentist is awesome.

Wait. The joke!

A mushroom walks into a bar.
Bartender: We don’t serve your kind here.
Mushroom: Why not? I’m a FUN-GUY.

You may have groaned, but I’ll bet you’ll pass that one along. ;)

Oh, artwork. Yeah, it’s been like pulling teeth (OMG ANOTHER DENTIST REFERENCE) but I made five more pieces of art. Once again, I hate three of them. I’m glad I have more time to pull together a show of twenty.

However, I did love two of them. This time, so that you can actually see the detail, I’m sharing just one of them. I’ll probably post another soon. This is my second favorite (hey, gotta save something to show you later) and created entirely in Adobe Photoshop, which isn’t common for me, but go figure.

I call it ‘Sanctum‘. It’s an alien gateway/throne/dunno. I created it for a wonderful friend of mine (who has no blog to link to) who adores all things alien. Someday, the mothership may return for us. I hope they bring cookies.


Filed under Arizona, Art, Blogging, Cats, Color, Creativity, Digital Artwork, Holiday, Inspiration, KarPaiTwenMo, Life, NaNoWriMo, Painting, Pets

Autumn in Phoenix

Autumn by Karen Gadient

Wild is the music of autumnal winds
Amongst the faded woods.
– William Wordsworth

I live in a place where we don’t experience certain seasons, at least not like other parts of the United States do. Seasons here in sunny southern Arizona are: “too-damn-hot” and “bragging season”. That’s all. I mean, we get monsoon season too… but that’s not a true season. It’s just an influx of haboobs.

Luckily, we’re finally moving into bragging season. Time for the months when we can cheerfully call our sweater-wearing relatives up north: “Hey, it’s December and I’m by the pool! Whatcha doing today? Shoveling, eh? Bummmmmer.”

I don’t miss the snow. Not at all. What I do miss are the changing colors of the trees. Okay–and trees (that aren’t palm or mesquite or palo verde).

And squirrels. I swear all we have are coyotes and snakes.

Anyway… I’m happy about bragging season finally arriving. I’m tired of driving my car with oven mitts on (kidding–sorta). I’m really looking forward to the cold water taps on our sinks actually pouring out cool-ish water again (no kidding, the “cold” tap is always hotter than the “warm” one during the summer here).

So, what’s the best season of the year where you live?


Filed under Arizona, Art, Color, Digital Artwork, Family, Journal, Life, Nature, Painting

Shawarma and Synchronicity

[The following (upbeat) post was written the day before my mother had the emergency that put her in the hospital and eventually took her life. However, I felt I should post it now instead of deleting it, as we revisited the restaurant last night and the memory brought me comfort.]

Waves of Sound - Orange and Yellow

We were in a restaurant that we hadn’t been to in a while, inspired by the the post-credit scene from The Avengers. Yeah, we knew a shawarma joint about two blocks from here. Okay, more like two towns from here.

Only the place we go is trendy, unlike the one in the movie scene. Has a bar, but no dance floor. Open kitchen. Really just a family restaurant with exotic atmosphere. Plays my favorite kind of music: progressive house. Oh, sure. You didn’t know? I’m one of those graying old skool kids. Surprise. So…

We’re sitting there near the kitchen, finishing off our tasty shawarmas and people-watching. Then a song from my current repeat-playlist starts to fill the room. It’s one that speaks to me during this strange time in my life.

David knows it. He holds my hand. We listen.

But then something unusual happens: I notice an older woman nodding her head to the music. Then another woman, much younger than me, dancing by the hallway near the bar. I see a man at the bar whose lips are moving to the words. And another woman near the window tapping her hand in time with the bass line. One of the servers at the soft drink station briefly sways to the beat.

I mention it to David.

He sees another guy, sitting somewhere behind me, thrumming to the music.

“Six people.”

“Yeah. And to think when we walked in, they were strangers.”

I was struck by the idea that a song that moves me also moves others. That, for a brief time, we were all connected by one song. In a restaurant—not at a rave.

I loved it. It was a fascinating part of an already-good day.

Oh, and: no, I’m not sharing which song. ;) Maybe I’ll catch you in a restaurant one day and we’ll see what happens next. Shawarma, anyone?


Filed under Arizona, Food, Journal, Life, Music, Phoenix

More Power!

Overkill, David Gadient

Picture taken by David while he was working on a project in the house. Because you never know where you’ll need to drag that lamp for more light. Right?


Filed under Arizona, Life, Photography

The Desert in Bloom

Desert Bloom by David Gadient, 2013

Another fantastic photograph taken by my husband David Gadient. One of the lovely blooms at Desert Botanical Garden here in Phoenix, Arizona. We’re members and proud to support. Whether you’re local or visiting, the Garden is a wonderful place to explore the beauty of the Sonoran Desert.


Filed under Arizona, Nature, Phoenix, Photography

Fashion and Digital Textile Design

One more post about the Phoenix Art Museum. These images, also taken by my husband David, are of the Digital Print Fashion exhibition. Everything you see here is digitally printed textile, which allows for some fantastic color and pattern. With digital printing, the sources for fashion inspiration are without limits. Many of these designs inspired me to write, because they look like they’d be at home in a science fiction or fantasy novel—yet, I’d still wear a few of them out to a party this weekend if I could! Which ones catch your eye the most?

Digital Textile Printing - Fashion Examples


Filed under Arizona, Art, Fashion, Graphic Design, Inspiration, Photography, Printing

Black Cloud Butterflies

Black Cloud Butterflies

At the Phoenix Art Museum this past weekend, my husband David took some fantastic photographs of the Black Cloud multi-room installation of Order, Chaos, and the Space Between.

Butterflies. Swarms of them. Over the walls and ceilings.

So striking. I think the angles he used for these shots help convey what it’s like to be there yourself. I hope you enjoy David’s photography as much as I do.


Filed under Arizona, Art, Inspiration, Nature, Photography

Full of Stars: Fireflies Among Us

This time last year [click here for last year's post], I shared my love for an installation at the Phoenix Art Museum. The work is called You Who Are Getting Obliterated in the Dancing Swarm of Fireflies by Yayoi Kusama.

We continue to be fascinated by this room of infinity lights.

It’s like being out there in space. As I said last year: it becomes complex and you become small. The specks of light in the depths of darkness… beautiful.

Yes, we still plan on having a room like this in our home someday.

In the meanwhile, we visit. This installation is one of the primary reasons we haunt the museum. This last trip, my husband took some photographs. Nothing said they weren’t allowed (sign outside of the entrance) and he tried it only when we had the room to ourselves, so we didn’t ruin the experience for others.

Here are two of those shots:

My hands, cradling a ‘firefly’ on a red-yellow cycle.

Firefly Caught

Might be a person—possibly myself—in the middle of this blue-green field.

Fireflies in Space


Filed under Arizona, Art, Imagination, Inspiration, Photography, Space

Phoenix Lights

Our Phoenix Lights, 2/18/13

Last night, we happened to go outside just as a series of strange lights passed over our house. When we first saw them, they were in a staggered zig-zag pattern. By the time I’d managed to get my dying cell phone to snap a picture, the lights had spread out to what you see above.

Neighbors were standing here and there to watch the sky too. At first I thought it was a huge group of helicopters, but my husband pointed out the lack of noise, plus the things were a very bright yellowish color.

Never saw anything like it.

After a while, I got creeped out and we hopped in the car to head off on our grocery-shopping errands. We made jokes about alien invasion and how weird Arizona can be. This state is a weird-magnet.

Eventually, the lights disappeared. Helicopters circled the area. We figured we’d see something on the news later. Nope. Not a thing. Can’t find anything about it online, other than old reports of the Phoenix Lights.

So, I’m blogging about it. Have you ever seen lights like this? Or anything else that made you consider the odds of UFOs checking out your neighborhood?

What do you think they are?


Filed under Arizona, Journal, Life, Photography, Science Fiction, Space, The Unknown

Whut? Guessing Game!

Whut, whut. Image by David Gadient, 2013.

My husband David snapped this picture recently. Can you guess what it is?

[Next-Day Update] Here’s what it is: Bob’s Big Boy.

Well, the first picture was his rear end!

We found him in a vintage Americana shop at Barrett-Jackson, along with tons of other old items from restaurants and gas stations. Yep, he was for sale! Not sure of the price. Wonder if anyone bought him? He was about twice our height.

Big Boy


Filed under Arizona, Games, Photography

Barrett-Jackson Car Auction

Barrett-Jackson Car Auction Photos 2013. Photos by David Gadient.

Cars are art. Didn’t Top Gear already argue that several times? I agree: cars are indeed art. Cars are poetry. Cars are inspiring. They are things of beauty and speeding along in one makes the heart flutter. They have personality, spirit, and attitude… much like the people who drive them.

We went to the amazing Barrett-Jackson Collector Car Auction this weekend and spent many hours gawking at the cars. If you ever have the chance to attend one of these auctions—take it. There is just so much shiny to see! There are even food and merchandise vendors. Perfect way to spend a family afternoon.


Filed under Arizona, Art, Cars, History, Journal, Photography, Technology

Logos, Patches, and Inspiration

Before you guys shoot me for all the Debris Dreams posts, I promise I’ll keep those on the light side soon. However, since I’m doing my posts alphabetically and happen to be on the letter ‘L’… I figured I’d show you what inspired the CAA and Luna logos/patches I designed for the book.

Around the time I was assigned the project, we had visited the Pima Air & Space Museum to have a look at the planes and the space-related stuff they have. I’m a geek and love planes—and cars, and especially boats, but I digress…

Lucky for me, they also had plenty of patches to gawk at. Here are a few of the photos I took (with my ancient cell phone, hence the amazing quality), along with the CAA and Luna logos below them. In case you’re curious, the crane’s banner on the CAA logo says “Semper Fidelis” in Chinese.

Debris Dreams - Logo Inspirations

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Filed under Arizona, Art, Books, Graphic Design, Inspiration, Publishing

Full of Stars

You Who Are Getting Obliterated in the Dancing Swarm of Fireflies by Yayoi Kusama

I’m a member at the Phoenix Art Museum, which, coming from the New York area, isn’t a huge museum, but what they have there is pretty awesome.

My favorite installation there is called You Who Are Getting Obliterated in the Dancing Swarm of Fireflies by Yayoi Kusama. It’s basically a pitch-black room of mirrors with computer-controlled LED lights.

Sounds simple, right? Well, it’s far from simple when you’re walking through it or even standing still within it. It becomes complex and you become small.

You are wrapped in the sensation of being in space, and with little navigation. Particularly when there are few people making any noise outside of the room. The quiet and the specks of light in the depth of darkness—it’s beautiful.

I’d love to create a room like this in my own home. Space to clear my mind.

Yayoi Kusama has other light installations, and there are a few videos online. This one offers a good impression of the experience. However, if you have the opportunity to visit one in person, you won’t regret making the trip—especially during slow times of day when the staff might let you linger.

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Filed under Arizona, Art, Creativity, Imagination, Space


This month has turned out to be busier and crazier than the last, even with me having written a novel(la) in November. I have several paid projects right now, family here for holidays, and everyone is getting the seasonal sniffles. Good times, all the same. Wouldn’t have my life any other way. I hope all of you are having a fantastic holiday time—whatever or however you celebrate.

Winter here in Arizona is truly beautiful. This is a photograph I took last year during Las Noches de las Luminarias at the Desert Botanical Garden.

Las Noches de las Luminarias


Filed under Journal, Life