Sunday, September 25, 2016

Something Enchanting About A Road

Two roads diverged in a wood and I - I took the one less traveled by, and that has made all the difference. -Robert Frost

There is something enchanting about a road that starts under my feet and leads out toward a horizon and disappears. My earliest memories of drawings are doodles I made in school when I put pencil to paper and drew a horizontal line in the middle and then two lines begun on either side of the page that ran side by side together vertically—getting closer until they disappeared at the horizontal horizon. How magical that something under foot can continue forward and disappear even as you stand upon it. It beckons curiosity. And sometimes, as on a long journey, it continues extending in front, offering surprising panoramas along the way.

Any environment that stops me, including tangled jungles, cities with dead-end streets, subdivisions that curl in on themselves, labyrinths, jail cells, will make me uncomfortable. I notice I get uneasy at the ocean after awhile. There is no road into it! It is impassable and stops me in my tracks. Perhaps the great ocean explorer Jacques Cousteau, (French: 11 June 1910 – 25 June 1997) would take exception and say, ah, but there is a way in, but no road!

I am not easily confined. Maybe I've inherited tendencies from my ancestor, the famous American explorer and outdoorsman Daniel Boone, (November 2, 1734 – September 26, 1820). If you see the only known portrait of him, we look alike!

In my work I also break confines. Frequently I will make something entirely new and out of character. When people come in my gallery, a common remark is surprise how one person has made such a variety of art.

I have started upon the imaginary road I drew as a child and kept going—traveling completely around the globe twice now.  Moving in one direction, I arrive back to where I started, and that is magic.

Roads and paths continue to show up in my art and photography. In some ways, my writing too.

Sunday, September 18, 2016

Be Like A Butterfly

Since arriving back in the United States in February, brought home by the unexpected death of my mother, I have been unusually subdued and reclusive. Now, the late summer vibrations are strong here in the high plains of New Mexico—and I have been drawn out of a cocoon to be like a butterfly, free to flutter in the broad expanses. 

Last year I opened a pop-up gallery on the historic Santa Fe Plaza for two months. It was a success. So this August I opened and will stay three months. I have been working the gallery alone. Now the magic outdoors is calling me to go out and paint in "plein air." I've hired a dear friend to assist several days a week. After living here for forty years, I know where to go outside of the city to find just what I want.

I drive north in my van through a couple small towns. I either go to the Rio Grande Gorge, or to the area known as Ghost Ranch, near Abiquiu, where the famous artist Georgia O'Keefe spent her last years. Both have spectacular scenery and and are not crowded. 

The first day I went to the Gorge and made a painting from slightly above the Rio Grande River, looking toward a tall mesa with the river in the foreground. Chamisa shrubs are just now coming to bloom and added a splash of brilliant yellow in front. When I finished I found a nice spot higher up that looked over the canyon walls to the river below. I got my cooking supplies and food out to prepare dinner, but then could not find a frying pan. I forgot it! So I drove home.

The next day I went to Ghost Ranch. Along the way the scenery was so spectacular that I had to stop several times to take pictures. The clouds especially added immense drama as they billowed and danced in the deep blue sky. Past Ghost Ranch with its red rock formations I found a dirt road that goes toward Christ In The Desert Monastery. I pulled off near some pastel bluffs and set up to paint. Then the beautiful clouds began letting loose raindrops! No worry, I knew it would pass, so I gathered my gear and laid down in the van, listening to raindrops splash against the roof. A half hour later and I was up and out, resuming painting with the fresh aroma of sage filling my nostrils. 
"Ghost Bluffs," Oil on canvas, 20 x 20 inches

 A few hours later, as I strove to finish my painting amid the changing light, I thought, “Wow! How much easier it is to just take a photograph!”

Sunday, September 11, 2016

All The Same Charm

Pet parade, Fiestas de Santa Fe, September 10, 2016
It brought back memories buried in my past. So far back that I don't recall how many years, but I vaguely remember arriving at a big parking lot a couple blocks away from the Santa Fe Plaza early on a September Saturday morning. I had my little girl and our dog with me. We were participating in a children's pet parade—part of the annual Fiestas de Santa Fe. I felt a bit awkward amidst the other adults and children with their animals. The animals were sometimes almost wild with excitement at the mass gathering of beasts . . . and I reveled at some that were in costumes! 
1949, by P Stackpole

The procession started. Clutching my girls' hand and holding the dog leash, we weaved our way around the plaza amidst all the onlookers. It felt primitive, unabashed and wonderful.
"Genuine Hot Dog"1949, by P Stackpole

Today I arrived alone to witness the same event with an all new cast of characters. I felt glad to watch among the throngs sitting and standing along the street curbsides. It had all the same charm. 

Pet parade, 1949, by P Stackpole

Sunday, September 04, 2016

I Will Take That One

With my gallery open each day, most people come in to simply browse and look. It is like a museum experience with free admission. But of course, someone has to buy something because I am not a charitable institution and need to make a living. This happens just enough that I can stay open, continue painting and entertaining everyone.

It is only a few people who can afford good original art in their home. Thankfully, museums exist to bring important art to everyone. Much of the art in museums comes from collections donated by wealthy art lovers.

Artists need buyers. Unfortunately, not many people can collect paintings and sculpture. Art is a luxury, so clients must have disposable income to buy expensive belongings for their home.
"Casweck Window," oil on canvas, 20 x 16 inches. Boone painting bought by a collector from Dallas, Texas

During the renaissance, one powerful family in Florence, Italy, the Medici's, commissioned and collected some of the most fabulous art ever made. By doing so, great artists such as Michelangelo, Botticelli, and more, flourished and produced masterpieces. Now those same famous artworks are in museums.
"The Birth Of Venus," by Sandro Botticelli.  Created mid 1480's.

Last week, two women were standing outside my gallery discussing some of the art in the window. I invited them inside. Within five minutes the two were comparing a couple paintings side-by-side. They concurred on the one they liked best, and one of the women said to me, “I will take that one!” It was two thousand five hundred dollars and she said it would be going in a house she is building north of Dallas, Texas. I was impressed with how quickly and deliberately she made up her mind. And of course, grateful. 

She is my “Medici.”

"Pieta," (1498–1499), sculpture by Michelangelo Buonarroti,