I just returned from my socially engaged trip to Southern Idaho. After a year and half of isolation, I discovered that returning to society wasn’t as awkward as I thought it would be.

My purpose in going back to Burley was to attend the wedding of a friend and spend Mother’s Day with my mom and my son.

Hanging out with my son and Bob Ross


My son made my mother and I an Aztec themed brunch for Mother’s Day


While there, I visited my fellow artists with the Idaho Watercolor Society, as they had their first in-person painting session since the Great (or should I say, Horrible) Pandemic began. I was also able to teach a few in-person classes.

This is the painting I taught with the Magic Valley Arts Council. I am considering turning it into an online mini-course.

What do you think?

The magnolia painting is from my Negative Painting, Positive Thinking in Watercolor Course with the Mini-Cassia Center. I did it both in-person and over zoom. Still need to work out a few kinks with the whole zoom thing but I feel like it went well. I was able to record the session and my students can now view it for as long as they like.

Finally, I visited the Moon. Or what seemed like the Moon. My son and I hiked and painted parts of the Craters of the Moon National Monument and Preserve. 

I had been to Craters many years ago as a teenager. My grandmother had taken me and it seemed like such a strange place. It still is a strange place, yet also a wonderous place. It is where the astronauts that were part of the Apollo 14 mission to the moon trained, as it seemed the most moon-like place on earth that they could find. You can read about it here.

Now that I have better artistic vision, I was able to see many painting possibilities. I even pulled out my ink pen and brushes and did a quick sketch while eating lunch. The black ink seemed appropriate for the scene and all that black rock.


My inky sketch. I didn’t finish it on site though. The wind picked up and knowing that the weather in Idaho is unpredictable this time of year, we decided to hike back to the car before some dark clouds on the horizon made their way towards us. I finished the sketch with some ink pen lines when I returned home.

More black lava rocks. They certainly made a cool, sunny day feel warm. So glad we went in May instead of July.


We hiked to the top of Inferno Cone, a big hill that is all black lava rock. At the top we could see the whole park, and beyond. There was also this big, incredible tree that shows how life survives among all that adversity. It was inspiring.

Now I can’t wait to get into the studio to paint these beautiful scenes.

Leslie Lambert

Author Leslie Lambert

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