Sunday, May 26, 2013

Emblems Of Love

Usually, when I visit my parents in Santa Barbara, California, I also set up my easel and make a painting in their yard. They have cultivated a garden and take care of their corner lot, with its giant pine trees, orange and lemon trees, and tall hedge that guards the perimeter of the property. The last time I spoke with my mother and talked about her beloved rose plants, she said, “Oh yes, they are beginning to bloom. You know Steven, I have eighty rose bushes and they each have at least ten flowers . . . that is 800 flowers!” 
I know the yard well—and all the varieties of color and scent of her roses. She has a special relationship with the plant life around her, and holds conversations with the growing things that exist in her surroundings. 

Although my parents are advanced in age and becoming frail, they take deep satisfaction in their surroundings. The bird feeder outside the dining room window is replenished, a man comes regularly to mow the lawn and trim the hedges, and my mother prays every day in thanks for the elements and nature around her.

I know that the jasmine outside their backdoor is now finishing its bloom. Its unmistakable fragrance is etched in my memory.

Hopefully, I can arrive there again in the next few months . . . and make another painting. I always call it “Mother's Backyard” and after I bring it back to Santa Fe, it always sells to someone who finds emblems of love within it.

"Mother's Backyard"   oil on linen,   16 x 20 inches

Sunday, May 19, 2013

Boldness, Drama and Controversy

Garry Winogrand, Monkeys
At the San Francisco Museum of Modern Art, as I walked through a special exhibit of the photographs of Garry Winogrand (14 January 1928, New York City – 19 March 1984, Tijuana, Mexico), I suddenly realized that if the same photos were in my gallery, most of them would go unsold. I knew that they were curiosities and while intriguing to see, people would not buy them. 
Garry Winogrand, Untitled 

My most powerful and original work is the least likely to be bought. 

People enjoy experiencing boldness, drama and controversy in museums, but not in their homes. Only serious art connoisseurs, those who have art running in their veins, understand that great art involves risk taking, and want to be part of it. These collectors do not want to be associated with the mundane, but instead, what is cutting-edge, and advanced. And this is what arrives in museums.
Steven Boone, Paranoia

Sunday, May 12, 2013

Impatient Friend

The sight of my sturdy green suitcase, waiting to be filled, resting by my front door, suddenly filled me with gladness. It had been in storage too long and now was like an impatient friend, beckoning to adventure. Just the sight of it reminded me of Paris and Rome, Nairobi, Bangkok, Berlin, Chicago and Auckland, and many places in between. A thrill passed through me. 
This trip is not so exotic, but more of a pilgrimage. After my oldest daughter Naomi died in 1999, for many years I would return to San Francisco in the spring to remember her and the life we lived there during the four months prior to her death. Those days were powerful, as we were constant partners, blazing through the days, burning the candle at both ends. Life seemed magnified by death—and so it is when I revisit places we visited during our last months together before she hastened on ahead of me into the next world.

The hotel I stay at in San Francisco, The Seal Rock Inn, is where Naomi and I lived. It is across the street from Sutro Park, where you can stand and see the Golden Gate Bridge. The first year, when I returned alone, a small shrine had been set up in my room as a gift by Cecilia, the manager of the front desk. The staff remembered Naomi. The Seal Rock is a family owned hotel with homespun values, and as I returned year after year, I counted on seeing Kate, an old woman who cleaned rooms. She was slow, but valued and we always had conversations. She read my book, A Heart Traced In Sand, about Naomi and our journey together. The last time I visited, Kate was 70 years old and still rode the bus to work and back home. That was four or five years ago, and now, I wonder, will she be there?

Sunday, May 05, 2013