If you’ve ever driven on Rough Diamond Drive and noticed either crocheted snowflakes or hearts in the windows, you’ve found Eve and her husband Harry.
Eve is self-taught and excels at many different crafts, esp. quilling and crochet. She showed me photos of her work including gift tags and ornamentation with quilling, crocheted angels, doilies, sachets, potpourri, Christmas ornaments (her favorites), etc. etc. In 2012 she entered four items in the Yavapai County Fair and won 7 ribbons. In 2014, the Daily Courier had a contest to select the best decorated Christmas tree. Eve showed me the photo of her wearing a handmade crocheted vest standing by a beautifully decorated tree with all her own handmade ornaments. You guessed it, FIRST PRIZE!!! For many years she sold her crafts at the Yavapai Hills Fall Craft Show. She has also helped with donations for various charities.
Eve and Harry came to Yavapai Hills as retirees, and each has found a niche here that keeps them involved and busy, and suits them perfectly. No rocking chairs for them – except to sit out on the back deck and enjoy the view.
Farrell Elizabeth Douglass, a Yavapai Hills resident since 2012, was encouraged as a young girl to draw and paint.
After 20 years and 1 divorce, with 2 girls to raise, Farrell re-entered the job market. At that time, the Phoenix Art Group was looking for artists to paint original art for the design trade.
The work was intense; working fast on the subject given, turning out 10-15 paintings per week helped her to learn a lot and fast. She lost her job when the Phoenix Art Group folded but was then contacted by an art sales agent from the LA area, who wanted to represent her. He took her work to Hollywood, and was successful in renting and selling her art. Farrell occasionally sees one of her paintings while watching TV.
The Think Art Gallery in Scottsdale features her work, plus she does commission work for individuals. There are some “subjects” that are very close to her heart that she enjoys painting. Latest example: “Into the Wild” Series featuring endangered animals throughout the world.
Check out more of her work at https://thinkfineart.com/artists-directory/liz-farrell-artist-biography/ where she is identified by her pseudonym Liz Farrell.
Rick Cucuzza a Yavapai Hills resident since 1988 “is” evoL-utionairy – his talent, his creativity, his music, his imagination, along with his technical wizardry has helped him to create a one-man band. He creates ever-evolving live musical performances using his voice and a wide variety of electronic devices musical instruments (manipulated with his feet). There are no pre-recorded tracks ever used. Some of his performances are totally impromptu and others always uniquely different. He plays a variety of music to please everyone, including Contemporary Jazz, Blues, Funk, and Rock. Rick does cover music, as well as his own unique originals.
Rick began playing bass guitar at age 15 (loving the powerful feel of amplified bass), but soon switched to guitar, a much more expressive instrument. He played in the Southern California area with several local groups for 15 years.
In 1980, he found the instrument of his dreams – the Chapman Stick (www.stick.com). He literally gave up guitar to woodshed this new technique of playing music. He has played in our area in original, as well as cover, bands ever since. As of 2016, his main focus has become his single act called “evoL-ution”, performing “live” as a one-man-band. You can catch his shows all over northern Arizona. Find out more and check out his schedule at www.rickcucuzza.com.
Rose and Carl Boyd, Yavapai Hills residents since 2004, where they immediately felt welcome with open arms. They enjoy the sense of community and the friendly people who always wave while walking or driving through the neighborhood. They also enjoy the many social activities at the Clubhouse, especially the events where neighbors mingle and dance to music. Rose loves to dance and needs no encouragement to get out on the dance floor.
Rose uses insomnia as an excuse to be creative in the middle of the night. She prefers to paint rather than count sheep. You can see an example of her artwork in the clubhouse. It’s a painting of a bobcat that she donated to our community. It hangs in our clubhouse by the game tables.
This night owl also dabbles in poetry and has managed to publish two novels since retirement: THE SPAGHETTI SET, Family Served Italian Style set in post WWII New Jersey and just recently DEPENDING ON YOUR VIEW: A Snoopaholic’s Quandry set in modern day Prescott AZ.
Here’s a short excerpt of from her the ‘snoop” book:
Maria continued to watch through her binoculars, hoping for signs that Denise hadn’t been totally maimed. She expelled a sigh of relief when she saw the young woman hobbling with her son in tow. But she panicked when their lights went out. She considered Bob capable of slitting his wife’s throat. She refused to imagine what he might do to his children.
Adrenalin pumped through her veins as she stumbled down from her wrought iron perch. She ran back to the bedroom and, halting at Jack’s bedside, nudged his shoulder.
When he didn’t awaken, she whacked him harder. “Jack, get up! There’s a problem across the street. We need to go over there!”
Jack lifted his head and sputtered, “What? Where?”
Maria took a deep breath and then repeated her words even faster. “I saw Bob Bendon throw a chair at his wife,” she added. “I’m afraid he’s gonna kill Denise.”
“Maria. Calm down. You must’ve had a nightmare.”
“If you won’t help, I’m calling the police.”
“No. If you call the cops ’n tell them you’ve been peeping in the neighbors’ windows, they’ll arrest your ass. Now come back to bed.” Jack grabbed hold of Maria’s arm and pulled her onto the mattress. He held her to his chest. “Relax, Maria. Relax.”
“Let go of me!” The more Maria thrashed the tighter Jack gripped her. “Who’ll help her if we don’t?” She kicked a foot backwards against his shin. Why’d I bother to wake him?
Jack wrapped a leg around the two of hers, immobilizing them. “Come on. Knock it off, Maria. You know you’re no match for me.”
She struggled for several more minutes before she went limp. “Jack, please. Let me make that call. I have to help her. Devo.”
“Nope, you’re barking up the wrong tree. Can’t let you make a fool of yourself. You’ll thank me in the morning.” He nuzzled the nape of her neck. “Calm down, Maria. Everything will be all right. Like I said, you just had yourself a nightmare.”
Maria stiffened. “NO! L’ho visto. I saw him attack her with my own eyes.”
A vision of Bob wielding a butcher knife threw Maria’s adrenalin into wilder fluctuation. “Let me call the police!” she shouted. “Denise needs their help! Let me dial 9-1-1!” She repeated raspier versions of the same hysterical refrain until, exhausted from the effort, she fell asleep in Jack’s arms.
Art has played an important role in Mike’s life since he was a very young boy. His Dad would sit with him for hours showing ways to improve his drawing skills.
As he grew up and improved, he developed a keen interest in mechanical subjects; cars, trucks, trains, and airplanes which he drew constantly. At nineteen, he was summoned to Vietnam. Though his training was in radio communications, he still continued to draw. Having been asked by the CO who say his drawings, asked him to submit and publish in military publications. This could have been the start of his art career, but he didn’t stick with it. Mike states that he has had “an on and off relationship with creating art to this day.”
At age 50 he happened to see a copy of a painting that inspired him so much that he decided that he was going to learn to paint, moving from pencil to paint. He basically taught himself about painting; certainly not the most direct path to becoming a skilled painter.
As his skills progressed and started showing his work at art shows and competitions, he was met with lots of feedback from those more experienced and trained. Though his confidence was rattled enough, he didn’t give up. Time progressed and so did his art.
He joined different art groups to further the learning process and that experience had a significant impact on his work. He received “Artist of the Year” award from two of the groups which was a landmark achievement for him and his confidence.
Since that time, he has made aviation art his primary topic. Making his efforts count in the most valued way, he paints planes of World War II and donates them to the brave veterans that flew in them during that conflict.
For all of us, Mike shares, “there is a path that curves and turns with many obstacles and surprises along the way. If you stay on that path, you will never reach the end. But along the way the rewards are wonderful, and the journey is so worthwhile.”
I have had an interest in photography since High School. I was the one walking around with a camera in hand at parties, hiking and other events. After High School I took a few courses in Photography at Fullerton College and was fortunate to have one of my photos of a Hermit Crab featured for the month of July in the College calendar. Then I took a correspondence course with the New York Institute of Photography. This was back before computers and digital cameras and I would have to mail my assignments to them.
At one point I had turned a walk-in closet of our home into a dark room and enjoyed producing black & white and sepia toned photos. I loved giving some of my photos an old time look by painting parts or all of the photo with photo oils. This was back in the film days.
I had many hobbies and interests all involving some sort of creativity. Then my stained- glass hobby turned into a business and that took me through the next 18 years of my life. I built windows for Churches, restaurants and custom homes from San Diego to San Fernando Valley in California. During this time my photography pursuit got put on the back burner and forgotten about.
During the next 20 years of my life, I became a realtor and was known by my colleagues as a hardworking top producer. There were times that I had 7-8 homes listed for sale at one time. This business took all of my life and I found myself working what felt like 24/7. In actuality, I worked until 10 or 11 pm every day of the week. I only existed to work. I had gotten sucked into becoming a workaholic. My life enjoyment was gone. With all of the appointments and deadlines that job required, I was on a rollercoaster that I couldn’t get off. My life was meaningless and my artistic juices drained. Thank God, He got me out of that rut. He had to do it the hard way, but it worked.
This is the back-story that propelled me forward and back into a life worth living, a life of beauty, enjoyment and photography.
In December of 2009 I needed a simple outpatient gallbladder removal surgery due to gall stones. I was supposed to be back at work in two days. Instead, things went terribly wrong and rather than being back at work in 2 days I ended up being admitted into the hospital and needed a total of 7 surgeries. After my 2nd surgery I almost died while in the hospital, when I hemorrhaged and lost 4 ½ pints of blood. Ironically this was on my birthday Dec. 13th. I spent the next month in intensive care on deaths doorstep as organs failed and more surgeries were needed. It was a long slow recovery and took several years of recuperating before I finally felt somewhat normal again. But I had finally gotten off the rollercoaster and was not working at full speed ahead anymore.
God in His mercy had a better plan for me and my life. This was the reality check that I needed.
My near-death experience is what truly gave me back my life. I had to be knocked down to stop and look up and realize how I was wasting the life God had given me. Life is too precious and I was granted a second chance at it. With faith in God and His goodness to me, He rescued me and has made my life viable again.
Seeing life through new eyes and meaning, I appreciated everything living. All of God’s creatures, the birds and bees, flowers, trees – all of nature is alive and beautiful. God says, “Even the rocks cry out to Him in praise.” People don’t realize that bugs look at you when taking their photo. Mother birds are so gentle with their young. I knew I had to pick up my camera again to try to capture this magnificent creation all around us in all of its charm and mystery to share with others.
You cannot help but look at nature and see the signature of the Almighty Artist, our Creator. The earth is vibrantly alive with God, giving vivid evidence to His presence. If you slow down your pace of life, you can find God everywhere and come to realize He is right here among us.
A focus on God and nature keeps us in the present; it stops us from worrying about the future, regretting the past and wasting the pleasures of each day in this life. With my collection of photographs, I want to preserve a moment of time that is here and now, alive and waiting to be explored. Maybe this will encourage you to get out and enjoy nature too.
All of my photos of wildlife are taken in nature, not at zoos or wild animal parks.